December 2nd, 2001, 09:45 AM
NetTrends: Instant Messaging - Hackers Like It, Too
Greetings everyone. The following article and information is an exempt from:
On, to the story...
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A hacker named Methodic spotted a hole in America Online's(AOL.N) instant messaging system, so he penned a program to crash the chat program of any AOL "buddy" he targeted...
...Instant messaging, a faster and more direct form of e-mail that allows written conversations and file transfers, is growing faster than the Internet according to researchers. The speed and vigor of programs that make it perfect for a quick chat are also becoming attractive as ways to launch a quick attack, security analysts say.
Lambiris' program proved capable of shutting down the AOL program by overwhelming it with data, a so-called buffer overload attack that is strategically similar to the Code Red e-mail worm that caused an estimated $2.6 billion in damage.
(Did u read that? $2.6 billion in damage. Thats alot of ca$h!)
There were some 90 million active home and business instant messaging users in September, according to Jupiter Media Metrix.
And as the popularity of instant messaging grows, so does its attraction to malicious hackers, says MSN, for one.
"Computer viruses can be passed around in a variety of ways: via e-mail messages, on floppy disks, and increasingly, through messaging applications like MSN Messenger," it warned on Web site http://messenger.msn.com/support/knownissues.asp.
Instant messaging systems have become very good at tunneling through corporate security systems, for example, says Carey Nachenberg, chief architect at anti-virus firm Symantec Corp.'s (SYMC.O) security response team.
Now with that in mind, dose anyone really feel secure sending IMs and chating on IRC?... No, but will people continue to use such services... Well, of course. Are there going to be more variants of these types of attacks in the future?
What do you think...