On April 27, 2002, when AIM users tried to pull up lists of members on AIM Today, pornography appeared.
Hackers had, throughout the entertainment section, inserted X-rated images, sound files, and their own grafitti in place of what were supposed to be lists of other AIM users.
Four separate categories were hijacked, becoming in effect hacker bulletin boards. Simply accessing two of the lists would automatically play two different profanity-filled sound files installed by rival hackers.
To see screenshots of the pornographic content, click here.
Ironically, the hacker shout-outs appeared next to ads for TV shows on the AOL-owned Warner Brothers network, such as Felicity, Charmed, and The Jamie Kennedy Experiment. Even an image from security Xato Network Security worked its way into the member list. (Right)
Click here for a Salon.com article about the attack.
This isn't the first time AIM has experienced security problems. At one point any AIM account could be compromised if the corresponding AOL screen name hadn't already been taken.
The vandalism remained online for eight hours, joining a long tradition of AOL content hacks. Over 30 different AOL content areas had their text altered by online vandals -- including Business Week, the New York Times, and even Steve Case's Community Update.
Below is a table of hacked AOL content areas.
Other Recent Attacks
AIM Today list of AIM members (4/27/02) U.K. Football Manager Game (5/26/00) NetNoir (again!!) (9/8/98) Chat room listing (9/6/98) Real Fans Sports Network (8/21/98) ACLU (5/18/98) Member Directory (??? through 4/10/98) Traveller's Advantage (1/26/98) NetNoir (again!) (12/29/97) NetNoir (12/9/97) Roto-Zone (10/28/97) Extreme Fans (10/28/97) PC Hardware forum (10/26/97) AOL Live (10/11/97) Reebok (10/11/97) Lifestyles channel (10/11/97) OnQ / GLCF (10/11/97) Steve Case's Update (10/11/97) ABC KidZine (10/11/97) Jewish Community (10/11/97) Geraldo Rivera (10/3/97 through 10/4/97) MoneyWhiz (9/27/97) 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.