By MARY HUHN
America Online is gearing up to combat a potential St. Valentine's
AOL hackers, fed up with AOL busy signals, have been passing an
e-mail message over the
commercial on-line network hoping to instigate an AOL riot on
Valentine's Day at 9 p.m.
AOL says it will staff its Community Action Team on Friday night to
aid the battle against the
hackers, who are expected to disturb the chat rooms with scrolling
and other TOS (terms of service)
Scrolling refers to sending words into a chat room in such quick
succession that they scroll up on the
screen so fast they're unreadable. Another tactic is to send e-mail
bombs, which fill up users'
"While we're prepared in the case of hacker activity, we expect it
to fizzle out and be a non-event,"
says Andrew Graziani, an spokesperson for the 8-million member
online service. "Past experience
has told us that the hype is bigger than the event."
The e-mail message, which was sent to hackers as well as AOL members
being warned not to sign
on, said in part, "All hackers on AOL are planning a riot. That
means they will go into all lobbies and
TOS everyone (get their accounts canceled) and will totally clear
out all of the lobbies. There will at
least be 150 hackers rioting. So beware and don't sign on. And don't
spread the word because it is
the only way to be able to sign on again with no busy signal,
David Cassel, an AOL activist who witnessed an AOL riot in 1995,
received a copy of the e-mail.
"Hundreds of people will act up in the chat rooms," he says. "To do
any real damage you need
specialized equipment. However, I've seen signs that people have
Cassel says there's plenty of home-grown software, such as AOHell,
designed to mess up AOL.
"The perception of a hacker riot is almost as damaging as an hacker
riot," says Cassel.
It's almost impossible for a virus to enter a computer through
e-mail. But, Graziani says, users
shouldn't download files attached to suspicious e-mail addresses.
Copyright =A91996, N.Y.P. Holdings Inc.
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