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IM Has Various Problems

Akonix System Inc.'s researchers at IM Security Center have uncovered 36 attacks with malicious code on IM networks in June 2007 that is 80% more than in May 2007. This counts the total number of threats to 206 during the first six months of 2007. The figure is 79% over and above that of the same months on 2006.

The recent instant messaging (IM) worms included Checkout, Impard, MSNHideOptions, Mubla and VB-DVQ. The most common was Vanebot with four versions, while QQPass followed next with three variants. The P2P networks experienced seven assaults in June 2007 from the Kazaa and eDonkey.

A serious problem facing enterprises is that employees have a high preference for IM. Even for companies that officially prohibit the use of IM, there is a big problem in their IT system. IMs not only contain malware but also offensive and even illegal items that may go against the regulatory guidelines.

Hackers find IM programs easy targets by exploiting their vulnerabilities. It is important that businesses monitor their employees' IM activities in workplace. For instance employees unknowingly send infected files like vacation photos and videos to people that cause worms and viruses to spread across the company networks.

Businesses continue to prioritize security for e-mail while they miss it on IM. In an Enterprise Strategy Group survey in early 2007, almost all the respondents knew the name of the security provider of their e-mails while nearly half were unable to spell their basic IM vendor. In addition there was no IM security program with 30% of the respondents, said Don Montgomery, VP of marketing at Akonix. Darkreading published this in news on June 28, 2007.

Failure to protect company's sensitive data could cause corporate networks to be susceptible to hacking from various attack malware. Instant messaging creates risks for enterprises due to easy accessibility for worms, viruses and spyware.

The problem apparently is the lack of attention to the best practices of IM security. In a Web poll that Akonix conducted in June 2007, 46% of the 171 respondents admitted that they used IM primarily for personal communication during work hours.

Related article: In-depth Discussion Await at VB2007 on Fight Against Organized Cyber-Crime

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