Hacking AOL

Hacking AOL

The Mike Nieves case is taking strange twists and turns. Just to refresh your memory, Nieves is the 17 year old accused of recently hacking AOL. He’s charged with computer tampering, computer trespass, and criminal possession of computer material.

Mike admits he hacked into Merlin (AOL’s CSR management system) to get his suspended account back and told investigators he uploaded screen shots of his work to Photo Bucket, but a story on Wired News throws Mike’s “confession” into doubt. Now another person on the AOL hacking scene, “Smokey,” claims he is the one responsible, not Nieves — now that Nieves has taken the fall for it and been charged with four felonies, one misdemeanor, and must post $40,000 bail to see the light of day again before trial.

From the Wired article:

Nieves only hacked one employee account. Likewise, AOL’s claim that Nieves cost the company a cool half-a-million bucks is a gross exaggeration. “All Virus did was unsuspend AIM screen names and get cool screen names for himself,” says Smokey.

He thinks that AOL put a backlog of unsolved hacks on Nieves to shore up…an insignificant online delinquency case. “This is a 17-year-old kid whose life is going to be thrown down the gutter.”

At least one of Smokey’s claims should be easily tested. He says that Nieves couldn’t have accessed AOL customer credit card numbers, because the company’s oft-hacked internal customer service system, Merlin, only displays the last four digits. Smokey thoughtfully sent screen shots from the system to support this.

That’s enough drama…but wait, there’s more! Apparently l33t h4X0rs read Wired too, to judge by comments. I noted seventeen people who claim they’ve hacked AOL (many who know him) and three who claim they’re the ringleader of Mike’s hacking circle, not Smokey. They talk as though Smokey’s “position” is highly coveted.

Despite their squabbling and misspelled jabs at one-upmanship, hacking AOL gets no respect and hasn’t since the late 90’s. Most who do it these days are script kiddies. If you want to chuckle at how inept and insecure a bunch of would-be hackers are, spend a few minutes on the comments at Wired.

Just for the record, I have all the respect in the world for real hackers. They make the Web more secure by finding vulnerabilities that developers and system admins overlook, and they usually don’t hack in order to steal, but to prove it can be done. Script kiddies can do some damage, but with a few clicks on some well-known programs I can be a script kiddie, too, though I know nothing about how to hack, which is an art form.

People sent me email back when you had to pay for AOL on how to hack them and suggested I publish it on my site so we could use AOL for free, but I don’t want anyone using AOL, not even for free. Now if you can tell me how to hack into something worthwhile (like Google) let me know as soon as possible.

Back when men were men and hackers were h4X0rs: