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Enterprises beware: IM attacks break record, again

The prevalence of instant messenger (IM) attacks has reached record numbers for the second consecutive month, an IM security firm announced this week.

San Diego-based Akonix Systems said it monitored 88 types of IM attacks in October, one month after it tracked a previous record of 64 in September.

The company identified a slew of new worms, including SOHANAD, Imaut, Pepa, Yaautoit and QUATIM. SOHANAD contained six variants and Imaut had five variants.

Meanwhile, attacks on peer-to-peer file-sharing services, such as Kazza and eDonkey, totaled 34, a jump of 62 percent compared to last month.

Enterprises should pay attention to the more active attack space, said Don Montgomery, vice president of marketing at Akonix.

"As predicted, IM attacks are continuing to grow at a rapid rate, with the October threats breaking last month's high for the year by nearly 40 percent," he said. "...It's now imperative that companies address the risk of having their networks compromised by the growing number of IM threats."

Public IM traffic is expected to climb from 15.7 billion messages a day this year to 55.7 billion in 2010, according to a recent Radicati Group study. And IT security experts say as the IM space continues to heat up, so will the focus of cyberthieves.

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