Virus Hits Instant Messaging

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

May 26, 2005

It's one of the latest viruses to hit the Internet and it's making its way through instant messages. Luckily, Maureen Whitebread was wise enough to avoid it.

"I just thought why would they be instant messaging me when I haven't talked to them in a long time, so I thought it wouldn't be something I was interested in so I just didn't click," she said.

The IM virus Maureen referred to usually reads, "haha, look at this." The word this is underlined which causes users to click on what they think is a link. That one click can be destructive to your computer.

"You may see that it's sending messages to other users, the user may also experience slowness of the Internet from pop-ups to spam," said Jay Ragsdale, systems technician for Arcane Technologies, Inc.

Ragsdale is used to helping people like Maureen clean out their viruses and though she barely missed this virus, it's a hassle she's dealt with before.

"I had to have my computer reformatted, hundreds of dollars later, I am able to get on the Internet without all the pop-ups," said Whitebread.

Experts claim these IM viruses can be better detected with anti-virus software, many of which can be found through a quick search on the Internet.

"The best thing you can do is keep your computer up to date as far as windows updates, your anti-virus definitions are a must, spyware is a must," said Ragsdale.

Or like Maureen, sometimes it just takes a little quick thinking.

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