According to USA Today on Tuesday, AOL confirmed its email addresses have been compromised and are sending out spam without the users' knowledge. AOL has been hacked and several users have reported their accounts are being used to send spam to others. Although AOL has confirmed the hack, it is currently unknown how widespread the issue is.
The hacked AOL email accounts are sending messages that contain a link in them which could lead to malware, viruses or phishing attacks. Thousands are complaining about the compromise on Twitter. The official AOL Mail Help Twitter page has been responding to users' tweets since this happened.
AOL said in a statement, "AOL takes the safety and security of consumers very seriously, and we are actively addressing consumer complaints. We are working to resolve the issue of account spoofing to keep users and their respective accounts running smoothly and securely."
It is easy to tell if your account has been hacked or spoofed. There is a long list of indicators on AOL's help page. However, the first sign that your account has been hacked is to check your "Sent" folder to see if there are emails that you did not send. If your account has not been hacked in that way, it could have been spoofed.
Spoofing is when someone has accessed your email account by figuring out your password and was able to log into your account. The spammer sends out emails using your email address in the From: field. The idea is to make it seem like the message is from you in order to trick people into opening it. While these emails do not originate from AOL, the address has been edited to make it appear that way. The email actually originates from the spammer's email account and is sent from the spammer's email server, not AOL's.
Check to see if your inbox is full of mailer-daemon rejection notices for messages you didn't send. If there are outgoing messages in your Sent, Drafts or Outbox folder that you didn't create or send, your account has been hacked or spoofed.
For more information, check the AOL help page.