AOL Works With U.S. Authorities After Spammers Spoof E-Mails

AOL Inc. said it’s working with forensic experts and federal authorities to investigate a sharp rise in spam e-mails designed to look like they were coming from the company’s users.

About 2 percent of AOL’s e-mail accounts have been affected by the technique, known as spoofing, the company said today in a blog post. There’s no indication that the users’ passwords or security questions were hacked, AOL said.

Spoofing is one of “the oldest tricks in the book” for cybercriminals, who can use it to bait recipients into responding to someone they think they know and providing personal information, according to security software provider BullGuard Inc. AOL recommended in its blog post that users who suspect they’ve been spoofed send a message to contacts advising them to avoid clicking on e-mails.

AOL was one of the pioneers of providing e-mail service to consumers, with its iconic “You’ve got mail!” message greeting users as they logged in. The New York-based company began offering free e-mail accounts in 2005 as it began depending more on advertising revenue than subscriptions.

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