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Malicious Mobile Code by Roger A. Grimes

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Chapter 7. Instant Messaging Attacks

The world of Instant Messaging is full of warring bots, viruses, and Trojan attacks. Malicious hackers use instant messaging as a way to communicate with each other, as a way to compromise computers and networks, and as a way to allow their rogue creations to communicate with them. If this medium was able replace email as the default messaging model, antivirus companies would have a lot more work. Chapter 7 will explore the Instant Messaging medium.

Introduction to Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging (IM) is real-time communications and is popularly known as chat . Instant Messaging allows a person to type a message, send it, and have it viewed a second later by one person or thousands of people. Most computer platforms contain some variation on the theme. The most popular Internet chat program is AOL’s Instant Messenger ( AIM), which accounts for roughly half of all IM traffic. Microsoft has nearly a half-dozen Windows incarnations of IM, including MSN Messenger ™, NetMeeting Chat, VChat ™, WinChat, and WinPopUp ™ (for local network use). Internet Explorer 6.0 comes integrated with MSN Messenger. Yahoo! has Yahoo Messenger ™. Unix has dozens of IM programs. IBM’s Lotus division has Instant Meeting ™ and SameTime ™. Many email systems are beginning to include some sort of IM client in response to growing customer demand.

Some IM systems allow users to create lists of people who they would like to chat with (often called buddy lists ...

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