AOL has a history of hackers, since at least 1995. In September of that year, hackers accessed the e-mail of AOL executives. In a stinging piece of irony, a message detailing AOL discussions with the FBI on how to fight hackers was accessed by the hackers themselves--and posted for public consumption in internet newsgroups.

AOL's inability to crack down on hackers took a bizarre turn last week--when AOL's own customer support area began offering tips for understanding hacker lingo!

AOL provides an on-line glossary, which defines computer terms for confused users of AOL's customer service offerings.

Mysteriously, a hacker term appeared in the A - E section -- especially strange, since the word defined starts with the letter "W".

Mixed in with explanations of the terms "e-mail" and "emoticon" was a definition for "software that is distributed illegally by hackers." AOL's Terms of Service prohibit the trading of this software--so it seems they wouldn't want to advise users of the practice.

Yet there was the hacker's word, in the member service glossary...

In February AOL's security chief claimed their service was "the most protected environment on the Internet....our members can feel secure knowing that we mean it when we say we have a zero-tolerance policy against bad guys." By May 1, she had amended her position. "[T]here are instances that occur where these things happen..." she told MSNBC. "Not every day or even once a week." But it happens.

It happens....

Click here for more information about other AOL areas hit by hackers:

The New York Times
The Hub
AOL employee FTP sites
Stats Store