Application security

Postini: IM attacks on the rise in May

The number of instant messaging (IM) attacks increased by 500 percent in May, Postini reported this week.

The integrated message management firm also stated that it registered a 138-percent increase in corporate IM traffic, a statistic that testifies to the growing use of IM in the business world.

"The fact that IM messages more than doubled in just one month shows the rate companies are adopting IM as a mainstream business communications tool," said Andrew Lochart, senior director of marketing for Postini. "The sheer volume of IM attacks is a dramatic demonstration that we're in an environment where hackers, knowing that most organizations are still unprotected against IM malware, are rapidly adopting IM for their attacks."

Lochart clarified that in spite of the increases, IM attacks only make up a fraction of messaging attcks when compared to those coming via email. Of the 25 billion email messages the company processed in May, 86 percent of them contained malicious or unwanted content.

On the spam front, MessageLabs said it recorded 58 percent of the messages that crossed its networks as spam. That is a scan 0.6 percent decrease over April’s figures, indicating that spam continues to be static, albeit still prevalent.

In its May wrap-up report, MessageLabs re-emphasized the danger of domain kiting, an illicit activity that is becoming a more ubiquitous tool for internet criminals. Scammers kite domains by taking advantage of the several day grace-period between domain registration and the registration pay date. They will sign up for the domain to perpetrate their attacks during those few days and then they abandon it once the bill comes due.

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