America Online (AOL) has enjoyed another 48 hours of bad luck with a network outage, multi million dollar losses and a threatened hacking attack on its subscriber base.
AOL?s latest set of problems kicked off on Wednesday evening when a software upgrade stopped people logging on for two and a half hours. Ironically the outage was caused by an upgrade which was part of AOL?s programme to improve the quality of its service.
An AOL spokeswoman said that when the software upgrade began running, the AOL system stopped accepting log-ins. Subscribers attempting to access the service were met with a message to try again in an hour.
On Thursday the company began paying the price of its new refund policy for those who cannot secure the promised unlimited access to the AOL service when it reported a second quarter loss of $154.8 million. This included a $24 million charge related to the refund programme and a $74.3 million restructuring charge.
But revenues were up from $249.1 million in the comparable quarter last year to $409.4 million this year. This reflected enormously increased usage in December following the introduction of a flat rate, unlimited access pricing scheme.
To end the company?s day on a sour note, around 800 AOL subscribers have received an email warning them that 150 hackers plan to ?riot? on AOL on 14 February, Valentines Day. The hackers plan to cancel the accounts of anyone online at the time.
An AOL spokesman said the company was taking the threat seriously, but claimed it was ready to deal with the problem and that it should not impact on subscribers.
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