Knowledge vs. Spam - the Fight against Wiki Spam

Many web surfers are quite familiar with the Wikipedia website.  This powerful online application provides accurate details on various topics, combining the features of an encyclopedia and dictionary into one dynamic package.  Wikipedia also allows others to submit information on topics they are knowledgeable of - more advanced contributors can even create their own wiki web pages. There are a few restrictions applied to the use of Wikipedia, but not many.  For instance, an anonymous user cannot create new articles of their own but do have the ability to make updates for existing ones. 

Underlying problems of Wikipedia

User interaction is also the very factor that has led to problems in regard to the wide usage of Wikipedia.  Many times, web defacement and vandalism will take place when a user either damages or erases content from an article - all of which may occur for a number of reasons.  Wikipedia pages are also subject to being spammed.  In this sense, the term actually applies to the spamming of content, instead of the traditional form of spamming that plagues millions of email addresses.  In some cases, the methods of spamming are very obvious.  It may actually replace an entire Wikipedia page with advertisements for one or several third-party web sites. 

Most of the time, the spam will consist of a few links that appears to be related to a legitimate article, but is actually a disguise for a commercial website with the intent on promoting.

Anti-Wiki spam techniques

While the system obviously isn't foolproof, the Wikipedia website does employ strategies made available by anti-spam technology.  This is often done by monitoring a specific IP address that may perform a large amount of updates to numerous articles.  Wiki spammers are also known for their ongoing "Revert Wars."  This occurs when an edgy topic has been posted and the content is consistently modified back and forth to compensate one point of view or another.  

Spammers tend to go after the articles that are more obscure.  They realize that these topics are not as hot and will be rarely checked for accurate details or legitimacy.  This gives a spammer the perfect opportunity to post non-factual information, staying off whatever radar the administrators have set in place.  This form of spam recently raised great concern for many of Wikipedia's genuine contributors.  Several have since demanded that members of the administrative and security team develop a better strategy to reduce the level of ease it takes to alter and update articles.  It becomes very unsettling to know how advanced spammers have become and how easy they are able to deface such a popular website. 

If a topic appears controversial, there may actually be a good reason to counter it with a debate, activity that normally takes place in blogs or community forums.  However, Wikipedia has established the solid reputation for being a trusted source for a wide range of information.  If this site becomes the home for spammers and web defacement, how could anyone feel comfortable relying on Wikipedia for sensitive topics such as gun control or black history?  Can you actually be sure that this content comes from a legitimate impartial source?  As tightly formed units of spammers and hackers continue to become more advanced, only time can reveal the true answer.   

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.