AOL PLAYS ON FEAR TACTICS!
by R.F. Mariano, Editor
06/17/03- updated

Ya know.... Ever since I saw a local TV station blathering about how wonderful AOL is with its new Virus Scanning, Spam Filtering and Firewall protection (CBS-47), I knew I was going to write this editorial.  How ironic that we see the TV station acting as a shill for AOL a few days after the new FCC ruling.  I can only wonder if AOL has some money invested in TV 47.

On to the real subject, AOL "claims" to be the "wonder cure" for all the major problems on the Internet but in reality, they are the major cause of most of the problems.  AOL, with their screwy 1.045 hours free with no real ID or, user information required lays a clear path for every clown out there who is looking to either SPAM or make trouble.  How, you ask? Easy!!

AOL's new, "super duper duty, triple carburetor" high security service - NOT!

Joe Bonehead gets an AOL tin with a thousand hours free.... he's given an ID and password to get going.  That's it no credit card needed, no ID verification thus no way to backtrack to this idiot at all.  What does Joe Bonehead do?  He immediately propagates email with viruses attached, sends out erroneous IP packet addresses and let's loose the Sub-Seven Net Bus Trojan.  Mind you now.... that's through the good graces of AOL's new, "super duper duty, triple carburetor" high security service.  Oh, Joe Bonehead is ok, he on AOL..... but everyone else in the world is at the mercy of their ability to protect themselves.  Try to track Bonehead down..... nice thought but really impossible.  If one were to contact "abuse@aol.com" one usually gets to hold on forever and then the usual run around about "we have random IP addressing and so many new ones coming on everyday".... they cannot help stop the abuse.

Truth is, many independent ISP's are beginning to BLOCK AOL's IP Address banks!

One ISP, reportedly Blocked a complete IP address bank belonging to AOL because they said "the vast majority of our problems including malicious attacks seem to originate predominately from that group of AOL addresses.  When AOL learns how to control (police) their offensive users, then perhaps we'll lift the block.  Right now, they're on the ACL list and will stay there. The attacks have ceased since placing AOL there."  "Its goofy to allow these abusive people to go online for free for a thousand hours to torment other users. The clowns need only collect a few CD's of AOL's offer and they're online through AOL for over a year for free causing trouble of all sorts." They said.

The ISP's are taking desperate measures to avoid the trouble making AOL Boneheads that are coming online as fast as flies to a ripe garbage can.

Any user with a little savvy can help themselves wonderfully.  All they need do is obtain the Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2003 package and all will be fine.  It has an excellent and comprehensive firewall and about the very best Virus Scanner available today.  Automatic updates to virus definitions, intrusion signature patterns and youth porn filters.  You cannot ask for better.  Need AOL for this?  Nobody NEEDS AOL.... they'd (AOL) like you to believe that's the case but it is simply not true.  AOL's interface simply compounds the overhead your computer needs to get on the Internet.  Every ISP has EMAIL facilities so you don't need AOL's "wonderful spam laden" email.

As for AOL's Buddy List..... that's a joke.  Trillian offers an instant messenger controller that will look at ALL IM packages and have 'em there for you in one neat panel.  AOL is a major exercise in redundancy at a monstrously big price tag.  

Truly, PT Barnum was right.  "There's a sucker born every minute".   AOL is proving that.