Instant Messenger Virus

Written by Serena Berger
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Instant messenger viruses have started popping up in even the most popular instant messaging programs. Some such viruses send files out to contacts listed in your programs. Since these contacts believe that they are receiving a file from someone that they know, they may willingly accept it. From there, instant messenger viruses can propagate via both instant messaging programs and email programs.

Instant messenger viruses are posed to become increasingly popular because they can spread rapidly due to the real-time nature of instant messaging. Users should set their security preferences so that files are not automatically downloaded, even from people that they know. You should not download files unless you are expecting one, as it is more likely that these unsolicited requests will contain a virus than files that you are expecting.

Instant Messenger Viruses Can Affect Businesses

While these viruses are targeting consumer instant messaging programs, they pose a significant concern for businesses. It has been reported that almost 85 percent of companies use public instant messaging software, but less than 5 percent have any protection in place to guard against viruses that may be transmitted through them. Because of the benefits of instant messaging, many companies rely on it as a means of communications. IT departments, however, may not be aware of the extent of the risk associated with public IM applications.

Many employees install instant messaging programs on their computers without consulting with the IT staff. If you want your employees to be able to communicate with each other via IM, you should consider purchasing a business instant messaging application. This will restrict communications to within your network, the best possible protection from viruses from outside computers.

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