Wikipedia Hacked

The Wikipedia main page was deleted numerous times today, along with thousands of revisions, due to people guessing the weak passwords of admins, one of whom’s password was “password” (via rageoss). The same thing has been happening at MySpace as well this past year. With more and more user-driven content sites out there (youtube, digg, etc.), this of course is always going to be a problem, but Wikipedia and other sites and forums with a stratified user model (some users have more power than others) are especially susceptible. Admins at sites like Wikipedia have a lot of power. You can not only delete pages, but erase any history of a page, as well as block and ban other users and IP address ranges. And admin accounts are not desysopped even after the admins themselves have stopped actively participating in wikipedia. What does this have to do with education? More and more of the classroom experience is going online (virtual high schools, computerized grading systems, etc.), and these systems also have a stratified user model – teacher and administrator accounts have a lot more privileges in the system than student accounts. But of course we’ve known about this risk since at least 1983 (remember the movie WarGames :).

Posted in edtech
One comment on “Wikipedia Hacked
  1. Sage says:

    Deletion of the histories on Wikipedia isn’t much of a problem, as they can be restored as easily as they were deleted. The biggest damage, in this case at least, is to the credibility of the people behind the accounts (before they were hacked), along with some unsuspecting users being sent to some standard hideous photos offsite.

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