Skip to comments.Wikipedia Spreads Computer Viruses
Posted on 11/19/2006 2:15:50 PM PST by IsraelBeach
Wikipedia Spreads Computer Viruses
By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem----November 19...... Wikipedia, which brands itself as "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", now appears to be the "site that anyone can get a computer virus from."
Wikipedia, which has been condemned by almost every responsible news organization and university for its lack of credibility, recently had many of its pages hijacked and tricked Wikipedia users into downloading a virus.
Most viruses which users of Wikipedia encounter are of the emotional abuse variety, creating oceans of libel and slander. But the most recent transmission of viruses from Wikipedia were actually crashing computer systems. Many in the academic world saw this as a blessing.
A Quinnipiac professor did an experiment. He purposefully logged on and added incorrect information. Then he waited to see how long it took Wikipedia editors to correct the errors. He says it took three hours and he was reprimanded by the sites monitors, but if you had read his entries during that three hour timeframe, you wouldnt have known that you read falsified facts. Theres also no guarantee that all the information is void of bias and opinions.
The Israel News Agency has covered a variety of potential and actual issues with Wikipedia in the past, ranging from hoax pages to manipulation of entries for political ends. Do these problems represent exceptions or systematic flaws in the material there?
A potential indication of the quality of Wikipedia came when the respected scientific journal Nature submitted articles from both Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica to experts in the appropriate fields for evaluations. The results of the evaluation were very positive from a Wikipedia perspective: However, an expert-led investigation carried out by Nature - the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science - suggests that such high-profile examples are the exception rather than the rule. The exercise revealed numerous errors in Wikipedia.
Encyclopedia Britannica went through those evaluations and, based on their analysis, is now suggesting that such appearances are deceiving. And they make that suggestion in language that, for the generally sedate publishing world, is rather sharp: Nature's research was invalid. As we demonstrate below, almost everything about the journal's investigation, from the criteria for identifying inaccuracies to the discrepancy between the article text and its headline, was wrong and misleading. Dozens of inaccuracies attributed to the Britannica were not inaccuracies at all, and a number of the articles Nature examined were not even in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The study was so poorly carried out and its findings so error-laden that it was completely without merit. Accusations include Nature having used articles from publications other than the encyclopedia and, in one case, material that wasn't even produced by Britannica. Nature claimed that they matched the size of entries by deleting references only, but Britannica's response indicated that many submissions were either fragmentary excerpts or subjected to extensive editing. Nature's chosen evaluators also get criticized for getting facts wrong in their evaluations, and being unable to recognize simplifications that are reasonable for a publication targeted at a general audience.
So beyond the academic nightmare for which Wikipedia poses, now Wikipedia users find that their computers are slowing down and that data on their hard drives is being erased by viruses.
The German edition of Wikipedia was used as the vehicle to convince Wikipedia users to install what they thought was a "fix" for a new variant of the Blaster worm virus, which affected over 50,000 Windows computers in the summer of 2003. The virus attackers then sent out a German-language e-mail purporting to be from Wikipedia that told users to visit the page.
Wikipedia and its active userbase then took steps to remove the hijacked pages. However, previous versions of the page could still be accessed directly before they were removed by Wikipedia administrators as well.
"Unfortunately for many Wikipedia users, the previous version of the page was still present in the Wikipedia archive and was continuing to point to malicious virus code. The hackers were thus able to send out spam pointing people to the page on Wikipedia, and try and lead them into infection," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for security vendor Sophos.
Wikipedia has been often criticized for containing potentially misleading information due to its open architecture and self-policiing. Politicians have used it to edit their backgrounds and even vandalize opponents' entries. But until now, the service has never been used to in an attempt to actively spread a virus.
"Everyone should exercise caution and ensure they have appropriate defenses in place to protect their computer systems," added Cluley. "Additionally, people should remember that if there really is a new threat on the Internet, you're likely to hear about it first from the security companies, not an online encyclopedia."
Wikipedia, which brands itself as "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", is also activity deleting several articles on its Web site which are critical of Wikipedia.
Wikipedia, which has been criticized for its lack of credibility and used as a political and commercial tool for libel and slander, enraged the global news media with its recent coverage of the death of Enron Corp. founder Kenneth L. Lay.
Reuters stated that Wikipedia's postings regarding Lay "underscored the challenges facing the online encyclopedia." The Washington Post was more blunt adding that the Lay story "further exposed the critical weakness of Wikipedia that prevents it from becoming the go-to source for Internet knowledge....unlike, say, the Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia has no formal peer review for its articles. They may be written by experts or insane crazy people. Or worse, insane crazy people with an agenda. And Internet access."
"Wikipedia hosts approximately three jillion full-page articles about local high schools, complete with alma mater lyrics, and it can't make room for a critical look at its own practices?," says the Village Voice commenting on Wikipedia censorship of Wikitruth. Perversely enough, though, "notability" has indeed become a byword for Wikipedia's freelance fact police, who delete at will whatever they think might worsen the site's smoldering reputation as a trivia dump."
Even worse, the highly respected and professional watchdog site - Wikipedia Review - was deleted from the pages of Wikipedia.
But none of this surprises us at the Israel News Agency. The INA has been the subject for "Article for Deletion" three times. Twice, the Wikipedia article on the Israel News Agency was deleted by Wikipedia executive Danny Wool, and in doing so Wool and his boss Jimbo Wales broke every rule at Wikipedia.
You see, Wikipedia prides itself as being a "citizens media," or "peoples media," where the Wikipedia community of volunteer administrators, editors and users create the rules and policies. But this is only in the "spin" world of Wikipedia as Wales and Wool unilaterally delete articles giving no reason or simply stating that they are "tired" of creating a community consensus.
Now under pressure by their own Wikipedia community and editorials in both Wikitruth and Wikipedia Review, they have again uploaded the article on the Israel News Agency only to have it go through a third round of "AfD" or voting to delete or keep the article. The last two rounds of AfD on the Israel News Agency ended with a "keep" decision.
But not satisfied with the initial results to keep the INA in the pages of Wikipedia, corruption and censorship by Wales and Wool now kicks in at Wikipedia as the management begins to delete the "keep" votes.
Why does the Israel News Agency desire to have a place on Wikipedia? Simply because Wikipedia has become the number one spammer on the Internet. And the Israel News Agency, whose mission since 1995 has been to disseminate news directly from the Israel Government Press Office and features from professional journalists in Israel needs to reach a global public. Even if it means using a less than credible tool such as Wikipedia to objectivity inform the world public on current events in Israel.
But what really hurts in this scenario, is that where the INA is used to being attacked by Islam terrorists - Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and the government's of Syria and Iran, now an American Jew - Danny Wool is doing his very best to discredit the editors, journalists and reputation of the Israel News Agency.
But Wool is not alone in his attacks on the INA. He has recruited Wikipedia administrators Gili Bar-Hillel, a translator in Tel Aviv, Josh Gordon and Guy Chapman in London. Jews attacking an Israel Government Press Office accredited pro Israel news agency in order to remain in good standing with the management of Wikipedia. It reminds one of the Jewish capos in Nazi Germany.
There are many good, dedicated and wise editors at Wikipedia, but many fear being banned by Jimbo Wales and Danny Wool if they vote to "keep" an Israeli news Website or any news Website that Wales and Wool oppose.
Israel is at war with terrorism. We are bleeding from Qassam and Katusha rockets falling on us from Gaza and Lebanon, we sustain Palestinian Islamic suicide bombing attacks in our restaurants, shopping centers and on our buses. Israel bleeds from the effects of terrorism, tourism and investment are down, one out of three children live in poverty. Yet Wool, Wales, Gili Bar-Hillel, Josh Gordon and Guy Chapman shoot us from behind!
What's Col. Danny's excuse? Wool states that the INA is nothing more than a blog which is being used for a "custody battle" by this author. For Danny's information, there is no custody battle and the word blog was not invented yet back in 1995. As for Google's definition, what you are reading now has come to you from Google News - not Google blogs.
Are Wikipedia's investors and venture capital sources such as Bessemer Venture Partners, Dan Gillmor, The Omidyar Network, Pierre Omidyar, Mark Andreessen, Reid Hoffman, Joichi Ito, and Mitch Kapor aware of the rampant libel, slander and censorship taking place in Wikipedia's so-called "citizens media?"
To censor any free and democratic source of news is a violation of our basic rights to free speech in a free society. As Wikipedia is a leading source of information coming out of the US, censorship of non-inciteful accredited news media is a direct breach of public trust which only serves the egos and pride of Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales and his assistant Danny Wool.
Censorship at Wikipedia is a highly serious and dangerous action. Furthermore, Wikipedia, which is now being blocked for use by many universities and colleges for its lack of accountability, through its lack of accountable user and administrator posts could actually be aiding terrorists to communicate with one another on the Internet through their anonymous edits.
Perhaps the worst case of Wikipedia libel, slander and censorship centered around former USA TODAY editorial page editor John Seigenthaler. Wikipedia for four months carried an article falsely linking him to the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy. But as angry as Seigenthaler was, and as untrue as the article had been, it's unlikely that he has a good court case against Wikipedia, according to legal experts interviewed by CNET News.com. Seigenthaler himself acknowledged as much in a USA Today op-ed piece.
A case in which a man was falsely linked on Wikipedia to the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy has led some to question the online encyclopedia's libel liability. Bottom line: While Wikipedia is most likely safe from legal liability for libel, the issues raised by the Seigenthaler case should be carefully considered, some legal experts say. More stories on Wikipedia thanks to section 230 of the Federal Communications Decency Act (CDA), which became law in 1996, Wikipedia is most likely safe from legal liability for libel, regardless of how long an inaccurate article stays on the site. That's because it is a service provider as opposed to a publisher such as Salon.com or CNN.com.
In his scathing, Nov. 29 opinion column in USA Today, the 78-year-old Seigenthaler wrote that in the original Wikipedia article, "one sentence was true. I was Robert Kennedy's administrative assistant." The article was written by an anonymous Wikipedia user traceable only to a BellSouth Internet account, but Seigenthaler added that the giant ISP wouldn't reveal the author's name. And despite his protestations, Seigenthaler wrote, Wikipedia's only action prior to removing the offending article on Oct. 5 was to change a misspelling on May 29, just three days after it was originally posted. "I have no idea whose sick mind conceived the false, malicious "biography" that appeared under my name for 132 days on Wikipedia, the popular, online, free encyclopedia whose authors are unknown and virtually untraceable. I phoned Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder and asked, "Do you ... have any way to know who wrote that?" "No, we don't," he said. Representatives of the other two Websites said their computers are programmed to copy data verbatim from Wikipedia, never checking whether it is false or factual. Naturally, I want to unmask my "biographer." And, I am interested in letting many people know that Wikipedia is a flawed and irresponsible research tool."
"When I was a child, my mother lectured me on the evils of "gossip." She held a feather pillow and said, "If I tear this open, the feathers will fly to the four winds, and I could never get them back in the pillow. That's how it is when you spread mean things about people." For me, that pillow is a metaphor for Wikipedia."
The INA has been credited with many exclusives including Al-Qaeda : The 39 Principles of Holy War, with news reports directly from the scenes of the Passover Massacre in Netanya, Israel, the Tel Aviv terror attack on the Dolphanarium, and the 9/11 terror attack in New York. The Israel News Agency recently sponsored a global SEO contest to address the Holocaust cartoon contest which was coordinated by the Iran government. The INA has served as a news source to Google News since 2002.
The Wikipedia attacks against the Israel News Agency began shortly after the INA published Wikipedia: A Nightmare Of Libel and Slander.
What one is witnessing here is a modern day digital version of David vs. Goliath. The Israel News Agency trying to get objective news out of Israel while Wikipedia uses abusive tactics such as "out of process," personal attacks and deleting "keep" votes in the present AfD - Articles for Deletion battle.
Danny Wool not only deleted the Israel News Agency from the pages of Wikipedia after a community consensus, but also deleted the biography on Joel Leyden as well. The Israel News Agency and Joel Leyden are not too concerned about the Leyden biography. As Groucho Marx once said: "I would suspect any organization that would have me as a member."
One of the last entries in Wikipedia's action to delete the Israel News Agency from the pages of Wikipedia reads:
"MegaDelete" - The Israeli News Agency and the page for Israel should be deleted as they are the products of a terrorist group that has gained 'legitimacy' after years of terrorist attacks such as the Jerusalem train station bombing, the bombing of the King David Hotel, and the Lavon Affair in which Israelis dressed in Arab clothing attempted to frame Egyptian nationals with yet another bombing. This wasn't the first time Zionists dressed up as Arabs (see the King David Hotel bombing where they dressed up as Sudanese and Arabs) nor was it the last. Wikipedia should have no ties to terrorist groups nor should they disseminate news from them, I look upon the Israel News Agency the same way I would look at an Al-Queda or IRA news feed, not a fit subject matter for an encyclopedia. I choose to remain ANONYMOUS because Israeli Fascists have been known to attack activists who disagree with their terrorist state. --188.8.131.52 23:32, 26 May 2006 (UTC)"
Wikipedia is embracing and reinforcing Israel's enemies. They call all those who murder Israel's children "militants" not terrorists. That is dangerous. But censorship - is a far greater evil.
Wikipedia has the potential to bring unprecedented detail and accuracy to its articles, given that it can be peer reviewed by an entire world's worth of experts. But there is a gap between that potential and reality.
Wikipedia co-founder Dr. Larry Sanger recalls the night it was born. "It was the evening of January 2, 2001," he said. Sanger was in Pacific Beach at a Mexican restaurant. Over dinner with a friend, he came up with a way to make it all work. An online encyclopedia that anyone and everyone could edit. Sanger only lived in San Diego for a year, but in that short time, he revolutionized the way we gather and get information.
"If you had asked me if there would be over 5 million articles, I would've said that's pretty hard to believe," he said.
Sanger now lives near San Jose, and is working on a new project. He washed his hands of Wikipedia, and is now creating its competitor. "It's Citizendium Citizen's Compendium," he said. Sanger calls it his solution to what's wrong with Wikipedia. "It's committed to amateurism," he said.
"People have different ideas on how articles should read, they can't arrive at a compromise and are just constantly duking it out." On Citizendium, anyone can submit or edit articles, just like you can on Wikipedia. But Citizendium will provide gentle guidance from so-called editors when needed. "I would like these articles to be high quality and approved by people who can genuinely be called experts," Sanger said. About three weeks in, Sanger says the response has been good. "We've got 300 people on the forums," he said. Citizendium will start as a mirror image of Wikipedia, then evolve into its own creation.
"Ultimately we'll not see giant encyclopedia, new reference works and knowledge content resources of a kind you've never seen before. The potential is just absolutely amazing," Sanger said. You can edit articles on Wikipedia anonymously, but to use Citizendium, you have to provide your real name.
So today one must ask themselves one question before visiting Wikipedia. What kind of virus do you wish to receive - libel, slander or ... the Blaster worm?
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Wiki spreads stupidity.
Does somebody want my real name?
It's still a cool site with lots of easily accesible reference info.
By now, wouldn't you think most people know what Wikipedia is all about. Wikipedia is a great site for some information and sometimes you get misinformation, that is corrected when it is found out. Don't we all know that?
And unlike Wiki those institutions provide no useful information.
You have to be smart enough to use it, much like reading the new York Times, and all it's disinformation.
And in all fairness to Wikipedia, who would think that a professor of Quinnipiac would intentionally try to sabotage Wikipedia?
Exactly! We should all remember that everything you see in print, is not always factual, even when presented as fact.
Wikkenpedia...one of the bad things about the web.
(Unrelated) Go IDF!
Wikipedia does spread a bad virus; the virus of liberalism.
However, politicians send their minions to uncorrect information about themselves, too.
One of the Reps from MA. The guy that's going with Barney Frank to change the don't ask/don't tell policy, iirc.
Joel Leyden is an Israel public relations pr consultant and the publisher of the Israel News Agency, Israel's first on-line news organization. He has worked as an Israel public relations PR consultant for Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel, the Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Israel Defense Forces, who awarded him a commendation for his crisis communications work during Operation Defensive Shield. Joel Leyden also served as a consultant to the government when Israel astronaut Col. http://www.leyden.net/Ilan Ramon died in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Originally from New York, Leyden is a former media advisor to former New York Mayor Ed Koch, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Senator Edward Kennedy, and the Democratic Party. Professional background: Joel Leyden has practiced international public relations, pr, public affairs, crisis communications and journalism for 25 years, and has coordinated several media events with personalities including former President Ronald Reagan, President Bill Clinton, Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Nixon advisor Henry Kissinger and Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel
"Wiki spreads stupidity."
Watch how quickly the "gullible virus" takes over this thread.
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Are you Joel?
University of Oklahoma doesn't allow Wikipedia to be used as a source for any paper turned into a professor at OU because the content cannot be verified.
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