Spam, spim, viruses: over-hyped problems?

IM has many risks, but so far it hasn't proven as dangerous as expected, analysts say. For one thing, according to Michael D. Osterman of Osterman Research, Black Diamond, Wash., the fact that it depends on buddy lists reduces the potential volume of spam--called spim in the IM environment. And while spim can carry viruses, there have been few instances of serious problems. But that's not stopping the growing IM industry from going on high alert. In December, gateway vendor IMlogic announced it was joining with leaders in Internet security and instant messaging to launch the industry's first IM and peer-to-peer threat center.

The company says the IMlogic Threat Center is the first to provide detection, analysis, alert, and protection for harmful IM and peer-to-peer threats, including IM-borne viruses, worms, spim, and malicious code. The new threat center will serve as the hub for IM and P2P threat alerts and has the support of Internet security leaders McAfee and Sybari, and consumer IM leaders AOL, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

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About the Author

Alan R. Earls is a technology and business writer based near Boston.