Hackers Step Up Attacks on IM Networks

Instead of the usual Internet browser or e-mail targets, hackers may be taking aim first at instant messaging networks. One security research outfit on Wednesday reported the highest monthly total ever of new IM viruses.

According to the Q3 Threat Report by San Diego-based Akonix Systems Inc., a messaging security developer, some 25 viruses were reported on IM networks during September alone.

"We've been tracking viruses for about a year and a half now," David Jaros, Akonix director of product marketing, told Ziff Davis Internet.

"We started doing this report about four months ago. What we're seeing is that there could be a new phase of IM viruses emerging. In the past, IM viruses were variants of e-mail-borne viruses. That's not exclusively the case anymore."

Jaros said that his company's research demonstrates that there is an average of at least one IM virus attack being conducted every day now.

"Any organization with an IM network is exposed to attack," said Jaros.

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