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Akonix Identifies IM Security Concerns for Hedge Funds

May 24th, 2006

Hedge funds are leaving themselves open to serious security issues and compliance breaches by allowing the use of unmanaged public instant messaging (IM) systems by employees, according to Akonix Systems Inc., the premier provider of instant messaging (IM) security, compliance and management products.

It´s estimated that 90% of hedge funds have employees accessing IM whether it´s officially sanctioned or not, according to Osterman Research(1). Easy-to-deploy IM security appliances like the A1000 and A6000 from Akonix are a means for hedge fund IT people to quickly and easily get control of IM and enable the safe, productive use of this popular and efficient communications medium.

The SEC requires that hedge funds keep copies of all electronic communications, including IM as well as email, and produce them in a timely manner if requested. IM conversations need to be logged and archived to comply with regulations on records retention, including SEC rules 240, 204-2 and 203(b) (3)-2.

Public IM has no central logging, archiving or compliance capabilities, is virtually unstoppable by firewalls and undetectable by most IT departments.

In addition, IM virus and worm attacks are occurring at a rate of about one new attack per day. Nineteen of the top 50 network attacks have used IM or P2P, a 400% increase over last year. Trojan horse programs and other corrupt files sent over IM are undetected by email anti-virus programs.

“The use of unmanaged IM poses serious compliance and security threats. Hedge funds need to protect their networks and confidential files from hacking and other security threats,” said Don Montgomery, vice president of marketing of Akonix Systems Inc. “Many funds face significant financial and legal risks if unable to produce IM archives. IM is a vital business communications tool, but only if managed to meet regulatory compliance for electronic messaging and protect against IM-borne security threats.”

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