It’s been a hard weekend for AOL who are currently resolving a hacking crisis that occurred on Sunday. Whilst it is unclear as to how many users have been compromised at this point, it is believed that less than 1 percent of users have been affected however AOL aim to resolve this issue swiftly.
The issue has been heavily identified across Twitter using the hash tag #aolhacked however the main advice to all users is to not accept unusual emails from AOL accounts and not open any attachments that you may not be expecting. AOL are recommending for users to change their account password and to change other account passwords immediately if they are the same to avoid further intrusions.
Rather than compromising the actual accounts, hackers have been spoofing the mail addresses. This is when a scammer sends out spam emails using your account, sending it to your contacts opposed to making changes to the actual account itself. AOL have provided a help page in order to advise customers of what they should do if they have been hacked, and to explain to worried customers how to check if they have been.
Changes to the AOL policy are being developed in order to be able to reject the spam messages sent, however there’s a difference between being hacked and being spoofed therefore there’s nothing users can really do to prevent the spammer from continuing to spoof their email accounts. Users can change their passwords and delete their contacts but it doesn’t really matter – the spammer already has a copy of the victim’s address book.