Computer viruses ( Trojans or backdoors) can be transmitted in several ways: through email, on floppy disks and, more often, through messaging applications like MSN Messenger and ICQ.
Besides the obvious loss of productivity caused by instant messaging programs in companies and corporations, now joins the threat of computer viruses. Specialists from various countries have warned companies that the increase in the use of instant messaging services, facilitates virus attacks as well as the interception of messages.
If this technology becomes increasingly used ( as it's the email nowadays), certainly we will see many new worms and other kinds of intruders. Many institutions have banned the use of instant messaging software because of the fact that infected messages can escape through the security measures as well as the decline in employee productivity.
As an example we can see the W32/Hello worm, which is a classic example of a worm spread via MSN Messenger. It consists on receiving instant messages like “I have a file for you. It's really fun" and an invitation which asks you to accept a file called Hello.exe.
If you are a regular user of instant messaging services, even if it's MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, AOL, etc. it is time to reflect on certain minimum precautions to be taken into account when making use of these: First of all you have to know for sure who is sending you those files and what are those files about, before you accept them. You should run an antivirus program, preferably one of the best antivirus software, on all incoming files to make sure that are not infected. After that, you should make sure that your antivirus software is updated. You should also make backups of data on hard drive regularly. Finally, you should stay on all the Microsoft’s Security updates for each and every one of its programs.