"Mark McGwire reached 51 homers, that's quite a feat. I'd say that ball park has better security than AOL."
That's the message that waited for AOL users accessing keyword "Fans" August 21. The text accompanying a picture of baseball's Mark McGwire had been subtly altered to include comments about AOL's security -- including names from AOL's "hacking underground!" ("Hex, TBB and Spin knock AOL out of the park!")

The names "Hex" and Spin" have figured in the previous attacks on AOL's content. (This makes the 32nd AOL area to fall to attackers since March of 1997!) In fact, this same keyword was defaced ten months ago when a hacker named K1NG apparently inserted his name on the same screen -- and composed a fantasy sports scenario of his own in the captions of the area's "RotoZone". ("K1NG gets traded back to the national league; K1NG is inducted into the hall of fame...")

The August attackers are apparently aware of AOL's long history of security breaches. ("The crowds just keep gathering to see what keyword will be struck next," they wrote in the altered caption.) Several months ago AOL launched an effort to improve security on their content areas -- but it's apparently been ineffective. Subscribers watch helplessly as AOL's content slips into unauthorized hands -- while the attackers leave taunting messages.

"TBB, Spin, and Hex are all 'Real Fans' of AOL vandalism," the attacker's message concludes...

Other Recent Attacks

Real Fans Sports Network
Member Directory
(??? through 4/10/98)
Traveller's Advantage
NetNoir (again!)
Extreme Fans
PC Hardware forum
AOL Live
Lifestyles channel
Steve Case's Update
ABC KidZine
Jewish Community
Geraldo Rivera(10/3/97 through 10/4/97)
Business Week(9/18/97)
Digital Cities San Diego(8/16/97)
Spin magazine(8/10/97)
Academic Assistance Center 6/29/97)
Fantasy Realm (6/23/97)
Kids Kicks (6/19/97)
Thrive (6/12/97 through 6/13/97)
Stats Store (5/17/97 through 5/19/97)
AOL Glossary (5/9/97 through 5/23/97)
The New York Times (4/29/97)
FTP sites of several AOL employees (4/26/97 through 4/28/97)
GameWiz (Again!)(4/25/97)
GameWiz (4/4/97)
The Hub (3/31/97)

In addition, hackers hit AOL's Court TV area in November of 1996.