On August 10, AOL's Spin magazine area was hacked.
"Spin Online" fell prey to the same forces which have hit thirteen content areas since Spring. Providing scatological captions for the area's artwork, the attackers voiced their sentiments.
"Spin Online is so fucking lame."
Gleeful AOLers spread the word in chat rooms. "To Show how secure AOL is," one taunted, "look at KEYWORD: SPIN.
"It has been hacked!"
Scrambling to cover the damage, staffers replaced the altered text with captions re-stating the names of the links. But the damage was done -- users had taken screen-shots, and were already discussing AOL's security lapses.
Users question why AOL can't keep its own content safe from vandals. When a billion-dollar-a-year corporation can't thwart prank-pulling teenagers, they wonder -- especially when the attacks hit high-profile areas like The New York Times and Spin. The attackers left an ominous message in the Spin area 's title bar. "Damn -- AOL is so secure."
The image below displays both the hacked content area and how it looked after being repaired immediately after. (Click on it to see an image displaying only the hacked version.) Below that is a table offering links about the thirteen attacks on AOL content areas.
The Hub (3/31/97) GameWiz (4/4/97) GameWiz (Again!) (4/25/97) FTP sites of several AOL employees (4/26/97 through 4/28/97) The New York Times (4/29/97) AOL Glossary (5/9/97 through 5/23/97) Stats Store (5/17/97 through 5/19/97) Thrive (6/12/97 through 6/13/97) Kids Kicks (6/19/97 through....) Fantasy Realm 6/23/97 through....) Spin magazine (8/10/97) Digital Cities San Diego (8/16/97)
In addition, hackers hit AOL's Court TV area last November.