A popular Internet Service Provider (ISP), provides an Internet connection to subscribers—whether they are on a high-speed or dial-up connection—and delivers to subscribers communication tools that are innovative and relatively secure.
In 2005, AOL’s users of the instant messaging service could see—using their Microsoft Outlook email application—whether their friends were online. Essentially, the AOL tool goes through users’ Outlook address books and matches email addresses with the corresponding AIM screen anems that AOL collected during the registration process. With this communication tool, users could manually add screen names. Though initially users needed the latest version of AIM software available as a “beta” test download for Windows computers, currently users are able to send and receive messages from any Web browser. Each account has two gigabytes of storage—about the same storage as Google Inc.’s Gmail and greater than that offered by Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corporation.
AOL, Inc. has not been free of cybercrime issues. On January 23, 2003, for example, Brian T. Ferguson was found guilty of cracking the AOL account three times of Judge Kim D. Eaton, who handled the 43-year-old’s divorce case. Through this crack exploit, Ferguson obtained personal email messages of Judge Eaton, as well as computer files and other data that were part of her AOL account. To prove that he had access to her AOL account, Ferguson appeared before Judge Eaton in April 2002, handing her some email messages that she had sent to various people. Especially upsetting to the judge was the fact that the emails had personal information about her children’s activities. The judge further noted in a court hearing regarding this cybercrime that Ferguson’s remarks led her to believe that he was a threat to her and her close family members. Because of this cybercrime, Ferguson faced a possible prison sentence of three years and a fine of $300,000.
America Online. What is AOL? [Online, July 6, 2004.] America Online Website. http://www.AOL.com; In Brief. AOL Offers Free E-mail Tied to Its Instant Messaging. The Globe and Mail, May 12, 2005, p. B8; In Brief. AOL Ties Buddy Lists to Microsoft Outlook. The Globe and Mail, March 3, 2005, p. B10; Schell, B.H. and Martin, C. Contemporary World Issues Series: Cybercrime: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA:ABC-CLIO, 2004.