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Your Next IM Could Be Your Network's Last

The rising tide of instant messaging threats will eventually lead to an automated worm that will strike hundreds of thousands of machines in seconds, IM security firms warn.

According to data collected by IM security vendor IMlogic, the number of instant messaging-oriented attacks climbed by 30 percent over September's. The increase is even more dramatic when compared to last year, said Art Gilliland, the vice president of product management for the Waltham, Mass.-based firm. October 2005 counted 1300 percent more threats than the same month in 2004.

"The continuing trend is the increase in the growth rate of attacks," said Gilliland. "That trend has been consistent through the year."

What's different in the last four to six weeks, he added, is a big boost in the maliciousness of the IM exploits.

"In the past couple of months, threats have gone from simple keylogging and adware to actually disabling security software, rebooting systems, and adding more dangerous spyware to capture specific passwords," Gilliland said.

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