HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Cyber attacks compromised user data of a high-profile web service, prompting the company to issue a warning to its customers.
AOL is urging its tens of millions of email account holders to change their passwords and security questions after some of its accounts were compromised by the attack.
The company is working with federal authorities to investigate the attack, in which hackers obtained email and postal addresses, passwords and answers to security questions, which are then used to reset and change passwords.
"It's really difficult to protect yourself in these types of attacks," said Michele Mason of the Better Business Bureau. "Hackers are attacking the company whose account you hold with. In this case with AOL and with others too, it's a good idea to change your password on a frequent basis, just to keep someone from getting hold of that."
While the company wouldn't say exactly how many email accounts are registered on its system, AOL said that it identified the breach after noticing a significant increase in the amount of spam appearing as spoofed emails from AOL addresses.
Auction site eBay is also urging account holders to change their passwords because of a similar cyber attack that compromised a database containing encrypted passwords and other non-financial data.