AOL Instant Messenger targeted for botnet recruits

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AOL’s Instant Messaging service (AIM) has been targeted by spammers wishing to infect computers to use them in botnets.

It works with similar tactics to viruses (virii?) that spread by email, in that it tricks people into clicking on a link that purports to come from one of their buddies. W32.pipeline is supposedly sophisticated in that it can contact a variety of websites, once it’s infected the host computer, in order to receive further instructions, possibly to modify itself to perform other actions and evade detection.

Of course normal precautions should prevail, but it’s very tempting to click on a link that looks like it comes from someone you know – even if it hasn’t. FaceTime Security Labs have been studying it and suggest that maybe one- to two-thousand computers may already have been recruited as part of the botnet, with perhaps many more infected but not yet active. Not surprisingly, the virus propagates in the same way it arrived – via AIM to your contact list.

Whilst it might be a minor irritation the best human defence is to avoid clicking on links that are sent without first checking that your buddy actually sent you something. If they didn’t, leave the link well alone.

Ahh the joys of online life.

(Via Tech World)

Andy Merrett

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