Instant messaging falls prey to worms

By Celeste Biever A COMPUTER worm called Sober hit the headlines last week, reigniting people’s fears about viruses. But while many may fret about infected emails, hackers are increasingly turning to stealthier ways to spread malicious software. Their latest target is instant messaging (IM), a wildly popular alternative to email that allows groups of friends or colleagues to chat online in real time. “Hackers look at IM and they see fertile new ground,” says Jonathan Christensen of FaceTime Communications, an IM security firm based in Foster City, California. “Although email continues to be a target, malicious code writers have become more creative.” Even Microsoft,
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