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Postini Reports Record 500 Percent Increase in Instant Messaging Attacks in a Month


IM Volume Jumps 138 Percent Compared to April; Legitimate Email Accounts for Just 14 Percent of All Email

Monday, June 19, 2006; 02:50 AM

A report by IM monitoring company Postini says that in May its systems registered a 138 percent increase in corporate IM traffic and a 500 percent increase in Instant Messaging attacks, clearly demonstrating that hackers see the opportunity in compromising IM and underscoring the need for businesses to secure their networks from unwanted IM traffic.

Postini stated that it stopped numerous IM viruses and worms such as Browaf, Tilebot, and Khoobe from infiltrating customers' networks. Those customers cited assurance of threat prevention as the top benefit to using the Postini Perimeter Manager for IM service, followed by the visibility into, and control over, who within an organization is using public IM.

"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. That being said, IM attacks are still only a fraction of the number of email attacks, so it's important companies keep up their guard on both fronts."

In May, Postini also processed more than 25 billion email messages, a 13 percent increase from April, with more than 86 percent of all traffic being malicious or unwanted content. Out of the 25 billion email messages processed by Postini's global data centers, 65 percent of those messages were rejected at the network layer, the only place to stop attacks like DHAs (directory harvest attacks) and DoS (denial of service), where there is no content in the body of the message to analyze with standard techniques.

The top five viruses for May, according to Postini:

Virus Name Quantity Blocked
MyTob Variants 5,206,192
Netsky 2,492,450
Swen 1,340,982
Mydoom 803,051
LovGate 788,252



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