IM menace quadruples

Monday, 6 October 2003, 4:13 PM EST

Attacks on instant messaging (IM) systems have increased by 400 percent within a year, according to the latest Internet Threat Report from security specialist Symantec. Experts predicted the growth would continue in line with the increasing use of IM as a business tool.

Attacks on IM and peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing applications accounted for 19 of the 50 most frequently occurring attacks detected by Symantec's monitoring systems in the first half of 2003.

The four-fold increase was encouraged by wider deployment of IM as a business tool, according to Jeff Ogden, who heads Symantec's Managed Security Services division in Europe. "The threats generally follow the growing use of the technology, and we've seen it's the same for Linux," he added. "Unfortunately in terms of its robustness against vulnerabilities, IM isn't where it should be."

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