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CNN list recipient pushes porn

Some subscribers to CNN Interactive's CNN Plus email list say they received unauthorized email, including some pornographic pictures, resulting in charges of a security breach at the popular Web site.

Some subscribers to CNN Interactive's CNN Plus email list complained today that they received unauthorized email, including some pornographic pictures, resulting in charges of a security breach at the popular Web site.

A CNN spokesman confirmed the incident, but he blamed it on an "operator error" rather than security system failure. He said the magnitude of users who were affected numbered in the "thousands." The email list is from a weekly "what's new" message that CNN Plus, a push technology feature of the CNN site, sends to users.

"This morning when I checked my email, I had something like 15 messages including some porn pictures that all came via my push subscription to CNN Plus," one user complained to CNET's NEWS.COM.

Added another: "Subscribers to the CNN Plus mail list have received a surprising present in their mailbox earlier today. A user under a certain nickname offered a couple of photos of naked women. The text of the message was 'hahahaha.'"

When users complained, the company said it had identified the problem, which only affected those receiving the HTML version of Plus mail, and was taking steps to rectify it. "CNN Interactive today experienced a problem with the configuration of the CNN Plus mailing list, which resulted in a recipient sending unauthorized and inappropriate materials to the list," CNN told subscribers. "Some of you may have received this message and CNN Interactive apologizes for this unfortunate occurrence and any offense that it may have caused.

"CNN Interactive has identified the problem and is addressing a solution. CNN will bring this list back into service as soon as its configuration and security has been thoroughly tested. As a popular Web site, CNN Interactive takes the security of its email products seriously and continues to improve and monitor its security systems."

The incident underscores the concerns of many Netizens regarding spam or inappropriate messages sent to subscribers of free email lists.

CNN Interactive has been at the center of the effort by Time Warner and Turner Broadcasting to realize "synergy" from their merger last year. Last week, for example, the company launched CNNSI.com, which aggregates sports content from CNN, Sports Illustrated, and Turner Sports. It serves as a free sports site for CNN Interactive and the Pathfinder Network.

Last month, CNN and Oracle opened a cobranded site on the Web, dubbed Custom News, which provides personalized news from CNN and more than 100 other magazines and media organizations.