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Virus Propagate Through IM

The researchers at IM Security Center at Akonix Systems stated that around 18 new malicious code attacks were tracked over Instant Messaging (IM) network in December 2007, taking the total to 346 in 2007.

Looking at the trend, the experts opined that the scenario of IM attacks have changed a lot from simpler virus attacks that do recoverable damage to IM threat that have expanded and evolved into periodic attacks with the capability to significantly damage the personal computers in past 12 months. Earlier in the month of December 2007, some new IM worms were identified, including Etest, YMWorm and Cargar. The viruses like Mytob, Etset, and Sohana are the most common of them all, and each of the viruses has two variants.

The Vice President of Marketing of Akonix Systems, Don Montgomery, said that 2007 saw a rise in the intricacy and malicious designs of viruses and IM Trojans, as per the news published by darkReading.com on January 2, 2008.

Montgomery further stated that hackers are still using this medium to steal private data in order to make profit. Apart from that, the adoption of unified communication process in the year 2008 will also open new avenues for hackers to hack through various other mediums while keeping in mind the corporate vulnerabilities and liabilities. He advised that businesses should make sure that they keep IM on their security checklist, management and compliance.

The hackers who work in the smartest fashion entice users to browse through or to click a link which is actually a malicious URL, comprising of a socially engineered message which seems as if have sent by a friend or a known person. As soon as the user clicks on that link, the site downloads a Trojan or a virus into the user's computer. The virus then spreads through the list of friends of the infected user.

As soon as a computer gets infected with Trojan, it becomes slow and gradually become a part of a botnet that will ultimately hack the user's financial accounts, and the vehicle for this would be IM, said Montgomery. Hackers in 2007 particularly exploited IM as a vector to carry out financial crimes.

Related article: Virus Infects Through USB Drives

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