Those smiley-face emoticons aren't always happy. At least on some Yahoo Messenger emoticon downloads, those cartoon facial expressions are hiding a serious vulnerability that hackers can exploit.
Worse, while cybersecurity experts say they first alerted Yahoo to the problem last year, Yahoo has reportedly refused to fix it. That's because Yahoo Messenger, and similar instant message apps like AOL's AIM or Microsoft Messenger, have largely been replaced the past decade by text messages, Skype and social media sites, like Snapchat and Instagram.
Still, some people do use Yahoo Messenger. Maybe you like to download emoticons to it, so your messages to friends can be accompanied by an appropriate emotion, like smiling, laughing or crying.
The problem happens when you download an emoticon package, like emoticons.xml. Once you log into Yahoo Messenger and start using those emoticons, hackers get the same access to your computer as you have. They can take over your computer, and install malware.
Without any fix coming from Yahoo, that's scary. Which is a strong reminder to make sure you have an anti-virus program installed, and you keep it up to date.
To make sure you have the latest anti-virus protection, many which are free, visit the Kim Komando Security Center.