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Malware Attacks Rise on P2P Networks & IM

Attacks from malware targeting peer-to-peer (P2) networks and instant messaging has gone up nearly 80% in the first six months of 2007 over that of 2006. Overall malicious code attacks on real-time channels for communication grew by 5% every quarter, according to a recent research by vendor Akonix.

The study shows that there was 357% increase in attacks on peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa, and eDonkey in July 2007 over the same month in 2006. And the number of attacks was 32. The report coincides with the time of another report by Tiversa, a vendor that monitors peer-to-peer network. Tiversa discovered that US government employees and contractors were sharing numerous confidential documents on P2P networks.

Akonix's study says that it disclosed 20 malware attacks over Instant Messaging (IM) in July 2007. So far, there were 226 threats in 2007 that also included the IM worms like Hupigon-SJ, Exploit-YIMCAM, SpyPal, InsideChatSpy, Svich, YahooSpyMon and StealthChatMon. The total number is 78% more than that in 2006.

With malware not declining significantly in the summer of 2007 compared to earlier years, there is an alarming growth in security threats. Also, as the larger number of IT departments have deployed protective measures on e-mail but not secured their IM, hackers have adjusted with the situation and are delivering malware through the path with least obstacles. As a result, they have chosen the unprotected IM in corporate networks, said Don Montgomery, VP of marketing at Akonix. BCS published this in news on July 31, 2007.

Ending of 2006 was the beginning of multi-stage attacks on IM networks, where the IM would launch an URL that on clicking would download malicious code to download more codes. The IM Security Center too is witnessing two-stage attacks where the second stage would involve downloading a Trojan to run keylogging software when users log onto certain banking sites, says the study.

In addition to these, there would be multi-vector attacks where the IM would deliver an infected URL that would creep into the system via e-mail. Attacks, which focus on consumer services like MSN, AOL and Yahoo, are starting to target networks.

Related article: Malware Authors Turn More Insidious

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