Disclaimer: This is an original piece of work.

Update: Apparently, the Security Hole has been caught, but there may be new ones. This Node now exists only as a historical reference to what once was.

Users of AIM, an Instant Messenger Client released by Internet giant AOL should be aware of a security hole.

Apparently, a skilled hacker can control another user's computer through AIM. This is done by causing what is called a buffer overflow. There may be several ways of doing this, such as overloading AIM by sending color and font-heavy IMs. Once the buffer is overflowed, it will give the hacker total control. It is hardly detectable until too late.

AIM's vulnerability is not unknown, infact, various toy softwares have been introduced. They can crash a users AIM client, cause memory errors, and even shut down the computer. While these tricks are often quite harmless because they are merely toy programs, it serves as an example of what a serious hacker could do.

Luckily there are hackers on our side too, a teen-run website known only as Wicon Software, has released a Aim Filter, a free program which will protect AIM from the most common crash tricks and includes some tricks of its own. It's open source and the program may be found at http://www.ssnbc.com/wiz/

Sometimes, anti-aol sites can give provide useful tips also. A popular AOL hate site, http://www.anti-aol.com/ gives daily tips on how to hack AOL, links to crack software, and other information. By knowing this information, one can work toward preventing it from happening to their own computer.

Once this information is distributed widely over the web, most amateur hackers will be powerless to employ their exploits and only the professionals will still be able to work around with AOL. However, if they truly are professional, then there is no actual way to stop them no matter how many blocks are employed.

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