Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Complaint Filed in AOL Blunder

Electronic Frontier Foundation files complaint with the FTC over the online service's exposure of customer search information

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over AOL's recent exposure of customer search data.

In what a spokesman called "a screwup," AOL last week released search records of some 658,000 customers for analysis over the Web. The company covered up the users' names, but it neglected to sanitize the search data itself, which contained names, Social Security numbers, and other personal Web data. (See Users Outraged by AOL Gaffe.)

The EFF is asking the FTC to investigate the online service provider's privacy practices and force AOL to stop logging search data, except when absolutely necessary. The complaint alleges that AOL engaged in deceptive and unfair trade practices that violate FTC rules.

AOL had no comment on the filing.

The EFF further asks the FTC to order AOL to disclose the full extent of the breach and notify every customer that may have been affected. The online civil liberties group also asks the FTC to force AOL to expedite service cancellation for customers who want to be dropped from the service, and to pay for one year of credit monitoring services for the affected customers.

The EFF also wants the FTC to force AOL to amend its privacy policies and to submit to a biannual, third-party assessment of its privacy and security practices.

"While AOL has rightly apologized, its customers deserve more than that -- AOL must take steps to rectify the damage done and to improve its privacy-protections in the future," The EFF said. "Congress should also take note of this latest Data Valdez by creating stronger, crystal clear legal protections for user information and by limiting data retention."

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
    Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
    Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
    Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
    Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
    Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Current Issue
    2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
    We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
    Flash Poll
    How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
    How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
    Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
    The JSON web services in Liferay Portal 7.3.4 and earlier, and Liferay DXP 7.0 before fix pack 97, 7.1 before fix pack 20 and 7.2 before fix pack 10 may provide overly verbose error messages, which allows remote attackers to use the contents of error messages to help launch another, more focused att...
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
    Denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability in the Multi-Factor Authentication module in Liferay DXP 7.3 before fix pack 1 allows remote authenticated attackers to prevent any user from authenticating by (1) enabling Time-based One-time password (TOTP) on behalf of the other user or (2) modifying the othe...
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
    The SimpleCaptcha implementation in Liferay Portal 7.3.4, 7.3.5 and Liferay DXP 7.3 before fix pack 1 does not invalidate CAPTCHA answers after it is used, which allows remote attackers to repeatedly perform actions protected by a CAPTCHA challenge by reusing the same CAPTCHA answer.
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
    Delta Industrial Automation CNCSoft ScreenEditor Versions 1.01.28 (with ScreenEditor Version 1.01.2) and prior are vulnerable to an out-of-bounds read while processing project files, which may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code.
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
    Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Asset module's categories administration page in Liferay Portal 7.3.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the site name.