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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

IM worm: Don't click!

Now here's encouraging news for parents of IMers (stated with a touch of sarcasm): The headline reads, "MSN Messenger used for viral gang warfare." ZDNET UK reports that MSN and its Messenger users are again being victimized by a "gang" of worm writers who are "not only attacking end users, they are also verbally insulting each other." They are sending around worms (like viruses) that take control of people's computers. They spread by "sending [instant] messages that contain Internet links to malicious bots." Once the IMer clicks on the link, s/he automatically downloads the bot, which "allows an attacker to take full control of the infected computer." The worms also send that message to everyone on the recipient's buddy list or list of contacts that are then online. So tell your children not to click on links their IMing buddies *seem* to be sending them! They could well be this worm-message inviting them to click to something their friends would never send. Parents, this advice may really need to be burned into their memories, because it can be awfully easy to click away when one is caught up in the lively give-and-take of instant-messaging.

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