The dot matters


More problems with filters, this one with AOL. You can get past the filtering software by adding a dot at the end of the URL. The article appeared on New Jersey Online\"members designated as mature teens cannot access the Web site However, under the workaround, if a mature teen using AOL simply enters a \".\" at the end of \",\" the site becomes accessible.\"\"The problem was discovered by Mike Sklut, a 14-year-old AOL member who says he has been exploiting the weakness for years. Sklut posted the chink in AOL\'s armor on his site.\"

\"I was 11 at the time, so it\'s been three years,\" said Sklut, a ninth-grader at Northville High School in Northville, Mich. \"My parents put parental controls on my screen names. I needed to get to AltaVista to do research, and AOL blocked it at the time. So I started playing around with the syntax of the URL and it worked perfectly.\"

\"Sklut explained that his parents placed him under the \"mature teens\" restrictions when he was 11.\"

\"Analysts said the glitch struck AOL at a particularly vulnerable spot.\"

\"AOL can\'t go around touting itself as a friend of the family unless they address this problem head-on and quickly,\" said Youssef Squali, analyst for ING Barings.\"

\"Clearly it is not something that AOL can be proud of, but you do need to think of the Internet as a work in progress. There will be glitches and problems as we go on,\" Squali added.\"

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