Feeds

Is spim worse than spam?

No.. but shonky IM throws up new set of issues

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Spim - Instant Message spam - is more than just a nuisance: It's a security risk. The recent "Osama Found" adware campaign and Bizex worm attack show how easily IM technology can be manipulated to fool users into opening malicious code.

Osama Found was particularly sneaky. It took advantage of IM buddy lists to propagate its message. Users clicked on the link they received, believing the messages were sent by trusted contacts.

The Bizex worm delivered instant messages directing recipients to a website that stole financial information gleaned from their computers.

Neither was anywhere near as serious as worms such as Blaster or viruses like MyDoom which travelled by more conventional means. However, spim creates its own set of problems.

Spim immediately interrupts user activity each time it appears on the desktop, making it more disruptive at lower volumes than spam, IM security outfit FaceTime Communications warned this week.

According to messaging analyst firm The Radicati Group, 400 million spim messages were sent last year. Radicati reckons this figure will triple to 1.5bn spim messages by the end of 2004.

The risks posed by poorly-secured instant message communication have spurred a new sub-category of security software. FaceTime's IM Director is designed to control spim through a combination of sophisticated content filtering and a patent-pending challenge-response mechanism. Both features work to intercept spim before it reaches a corporate desktop.

Some vendors such as Blue Coat Systems have taken an appliance approach to controlling IM traffic, while others are marketing secure IM packages. ®

Related stories

Look out spam, here comes spim
UK firms must monitor staff IMs
Phishing attacks on the rise
UK.biz largely indifferent to spam tsunami
Spam is 10

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.