AOL patches ICQ to block worm

AOL patches ICQ to block worm

America Online (AOL) said Wednesday it has implemented a fix to prevent further distribution of a worm that began attacking ICQ instant message software users Tuesday. The block was implemented on ICQ's servers and does not require any action from ICQ users, according to an AOL spokeswoman.

Virus researchers first detected the worm Tuesday. Dubbed "Bizex," the program spreads through instant-messaging exchanges, a less common method for viruses than e-mail transmission. Kaspersky Labs, which initially disseminated information about the worm, noted that it only affected users running ICQ through the ICQ client application, not those tapping the ICQ network through outside applications such as Trillian. AOL added Tuesday that only ICQ Pro users were affected. Those running other versions of ICQ, including ICQ Lite, were not vulnerable.

A spokeswoman said AOL is working toward a solution for ICQ Pro users whose computers were affected and are now having trouble running ICQ. The company recommends that its users run and maintain antivirus software, she said.

Instant messaging is attracting increasing attention from those spreading malicious and deceptive applications. A virus-like game that installs a program to serve advertisements on a user's PC tore through the ranks of AOL Instant Messenger users earlier this month.

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