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Instant messaging becomes growing target for hackers

Instant messaging, the quicker-than-e-mail alternative for online communication, is moving rapidly from teenagers' bedrooms to mainstream America.

Now, IM is bringing a dark new legion of computer security problems that could eventually be worse than the worms, viruses and other Internet maladies that already haunt e-mail.

Last month, the number of instant messages containing computer "malware" soared by 500 percent from the previous month, according to one Internet security company. In the first quarter of 2006, the number was up more than 160 percent from a year earlier.

Last year, security experts found 2,400 different viruses, worms and other threats that hackers attached to instant messages, an increase of nearly 1,600 percent from the previous year

ยป Palm Beach Post - Bob Keefe - 09-06-2006

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