On Monday, America Online (AOL) announced that all users should change their passwords because there might be a breach on its system. On Tuesday, AOL sent a personal letter to all its users encouraging them to change not only their passwords but to change their security question as well. This is just to be on the safe side because only about two percents of users might be affected, but no one knows who is included in that small percentage until it is too late.
The letter let users know that AOL is investigating a security incident that involved unauthorized access to AOL's network and systems. Recently, AOL's systems alerted their security team of an increased incidence of email users receiving spam emails from "spoofed" AOL email addresses.Spoofing is a tactic used by spammers to make it appear that the message is from a user in order to trick the recipient into opening it.
AOL assured user that it is working with other email providers like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Outlook·com to stamp out spoofing across the industry. They have also implemented measures that will significantly limit future occurrence of spoofing and hacking.
At this time, AOL has no indication that the encryption on anybody's passwords or the answers to their security questions were accessed. However, to be on the safe side, AOL wants all its users to take a few minutes to change the password they already have and get a new security question. AOL is taking precautionary measures and wants its users to do the same. It is easy to reset your password and your security question at account.aol.com.
The letter also includes steps for users to take to protect themselves from cyber risks. They include:
- Do not open suspicious mail.
- Do not respond to or click on any links or attachments in email from unknown senders.
- Do not open email you have doubts about.
- Contact the sender to verify the authenticity of suspicious email.