IM worms could spread in seconds

Wednesday, 23 June 2004, 6:42 AM EST

Enterprises whose workers use one of the free public instant messaging networks -- the likes of America Online's, Yahoo's, or Microsoft's -- risk malicious attacks that could make the quick-spreading Sasser worm look like a worn-out snail, said a security analyst Friday. "In instant messaging, we have a lot of the same security issues as in e-mail and networks," said Eric Chien, a senior researcher with Symantec's security response team. "Attacks can come in as attachments, there have already been some IM-related worms that send themselves to people on your buddy list, and IM lacks encryption."

Public IM services such as those hosted by AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft are extremely popular in the workplace. According to a recent study by the Ridicati Group, by year-end 2008, a whopping 88 percent of enterprise IM users will rely on a public network.

By Gregg Keizer at Internet Week.

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