On top of a particularly difficult week, AOL’s postmaster.aol.com website was hacked Saturday afternoon by someone who goes by the name “HodLuM.” The site was slightly defaced with a message from the hacker.
“AOL S3RV3RZ ROOT3D BY HODLUM LOLZ!,” the message read.
AOL finally discovered the hack, and fixed the page between two and four hours after evidence of the breach was posted to Reddit.com.
There are a number of reasons this hack looks bad for AOL. First of all, someone got into AOL’s servers, which is bad enough. Second, HodLuM likely has a sense of humor, as the HTML file used to deface the webpage appears to have been written in Microsoft Word — a sign that the cyber-security experts at AOL weren’t exactly doing their job up to par. Third, the ALL CAPS LEETSPEEK used by HodLuM suggests he or she is probably around 13-years-old.
Lastly, the various forums where this hack was posted all included various jokes along the lines of, “AOL still exists?!” Ouch…
It is not clear whether the people in charge of keeping AOL’s primary business properties, sites like Engadget, Joystiq and the Huffington Post, are the same people responsible for a relatively unknown site like Postmaster, which is a help site for businesses who regularly send emails to AOL members.
The AOL Postermaster blog has so far not responded to the hack.
The hack of AOL Postmaster comes at the end of a difficult week for AOL. Despite seeing a double-digit surge in display advertising revenue during the second quarter, AOL revealed this week that it was still losing money. Following the dire news, its stock price dropped more than a third (37 percent) from Monday through Wednesday, amidst an overall tumultuous week on Wall Street.
Prices did begin to rise on Friday, however, jumping 13 percent after AOL announced that it would invest up to $250 million in its own stock in an attempt to stop bleeding value.
While the hack of a minor AOL web property has nothing to do with the poor performance of its stock, the incident can only serve to worsen the mood at a company that’s struggling to stay upright.