Industry’s first ‘virtual buddy’ for security; automatically blocks malicious zero-day URLs in instant messages

By | April 24, 2006

Akonix Systems, Inc., the provider of the most deployed instant messaging (IM) security and compliance products in the world, today announced the introduction of L7 IM Sentry(tm) as a breakthrough security feature for the defense of corporate IM use against spyware and other threats. Part of Akonix´s L7 Enterprise(tm) v5.1, Akonix L7 IM Sentry is a patent-pending IM security feature that stops propagation of malicious code over IM networks dead in its tracks.

As a key component of Akonix´s 360-Degree Security for Real-Time Communications(tm), the new feature utilizes virtual client technology to watch over employees´ use of public instant messaging services like AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! The L7 IM Sentry is added into each user´s ´buddy list´ when the IM user logs in. When the IM Sentry receives a message containing an unknown URL, it alerts the IT administrator and puts the URL on a list of disallowed Web addresses, while L7 Enterprise prevents any further propagation of the message. Any future IM traffic containing the URL is automatically blocked once it is in the disallow list.

Spyware, trojans, worms and other malware often propagate by rapidly sending themselves to all names on an infected user´s ´buddy list´. Conventional message rate throttling may provide containment for rapidly propagating code, but will not detect slow-moving viruses and worms. Akonix invented the concept and developed the technology for the L7 IM Sentry as a passive ´listening´ bot, which ignores all messages except those with URLs in the message body Since the IM Sentry is not a live person, any messages containing unknown URLs received by the IM Sentry are assumed to be malicious, and L7 Enterprise immediately blocks them to contain the propagation.

Recent research from analyst firm IDC found that more than 28 million business users log in to instant messaging accounts every day. Akonix´s Security Center research team found that the number of new IM and P2P attacks grew over 1200% during 2005, signaling an increased need for companies to secure their IM communications.

“Our L7 IM Sentry feature is a very elegant and simple way to use IM technology itself to make this communications medium more secure for enterprise use,” said Don Montgomery, vice president of marketing at Akonix Systems, Inc. “Being the first IM security vendor to market with such a feature, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to providing our customers with the most innovative and secure products for managing IM and other real-time communications.”

Akonix´s L7 IM Sentry is available immediately as an integral feature of Akonix L7 Enterprise. The company provides free 30-day evaluations of L7 Enterprise and L7 Enforcer(tm) on its A6000(tm) and A1000(tm) IM security appliances. For further information on evaluating and purchasing, please visit or email [email protected]

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