RealTime IT News

MSN Messenger Worm Making Rounds

A new worm targeting users of Microsoft's MSN Messenger network is making the rounds and anti-virus vendors are warning that the threat level and distribution remains high.

The Jitux.A (W32/Jitux.A.worm) was detected squirming through the text chat application and trying to get users to download malicious code. The worm comes in the form on a URL which downloads the "jituxramon.exe" file.

According to an alert from Panda Software, when a user runs the file, the worm sends new messages containing the link every five minutes to all contacts stored in MSN Messenger.

The worm has no destructive effects, nor does it cause changes to the system configuration. It is compiled in Visual Basic and runs on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP.

Network Associates and Trend Micro have updated virus definitions to nab the Jitux worm.

The appearance of the Jitux.A worm is not the first time virus writers have target instant messenger networks, particularly the MSN Messenger. In recent times, the Henpeck/W32/ Fleming worm was also intercepted within MSN Messenger.

The appearance of IM worms comes on the heels of several warnings that instant messaging networks will be a major target for malicious virus writers.

The increasing popularity of IM usage -- among home and enterprise users -- comes with security concerns and security vendor Symantec has already warned that users of IM and peer-to-peer networks are at high risk of attack.

Statistics from Symantec showed that of the top 50 virus threats during the first six months of 2003, IM and peer-to-peer technology played a role in 19 -- a 400 percent increase from the previous year.