According to the organization, 2005 was a year of growing sophistication for IM security threats, with 2006 promising to continue that trend as criminals are attracted to the opportunities IM's rapid spread provides.
The 2005 review included hard numbers on the total number of unique threats faced by IM users. It claims a "1,693 percent increase in reported incidents of new real-time security threats," and says there were "2,403 unique IM and P2P threats, including IM-specific attacks and blended threats which target IM and P2P applications."
According to the report, 2005 was a year of unfortunate firsts in IM security, with the propagation of the first "intelligent worm," which chatted with its intended victims to lull them into installing its payload; and the advent of worms designed to take advantage of IM clients capable of accessing multiple networks.
Not all networks were equally targeted by malicious software.
The report said Microsoft's MSN Messenger was the target of 57 percent of reported IM security incidents, though a recent Radicati group report pegged Messenger's share of the worldwide IM market at about 25 percent.