SAN DIEGO -- Akonix Systems, Inc., a provider of policy and risk management products for real-time communications, today announced its IM Security Center researchers tracked nine new malicious code attacks over instant messaging (IM) networks this month. Akonix security analysts also issued seven new policy updates to protect customers against new malware The number of attacks in November is less than the 2007 monthly average, as low-impact viruses are being replaced by a smaller number of sophisticated ones, demonstrating a higher level of criminal intent and increasing the overall negative impact.
New IM worms identified include MSNPhoto, MSNWorm and Sdbot. Sdbot was the most common with three variants, followed by MSNPhoto and MSNWorm with one each. In addition, there were 12 new attacks on P2P networks, such as Kazaa and eDonkey this month.
November also marked the beginning of legal proceedings against computer security consultant John Schiefer, who spread illegal botnets mainly over AOL Instant Messenger1 in order to hijack PayPal accounts. The first prosecution of its kind in the US, this crime is punishable by $1.75 million in fines and nearly 60 years in prison. Another advanced IM botnet surfaced in November and proliferated over a popular IM network, further showcasing increasing criminal intent and malware's advanced sophistication.
"We shouldn't let the number of November attacks put us in a comfortable spot, as IM is now more vulnerable than ever to these sophisticated threats," said Don Montgomery, VP of marketing at Akonix. "A company only needs one complex trojan to sneak onto the network and do its damage, potentially causing loss of financial, HR and intellectual property. It's not about quantity but quality, and we are seeing the same philosophy translated in the IM security world. The recent prosecution incident is a perfect example of how an individual affects hundreds of thousands of IM users."