Wikipedia Visitors Beware of Phony Online Survey
Article by George Norman
On 24 Feb 2009
One of the first web pages people turn to when looking for information on a specific topic is Wikipedia. Some of us have it bookmarked while other s simply type in the address by hand. If you fall in the latter category, you must be warned that if you fail to correctly spell the URL address you might end up on a survey site that appears to be endorsed by Wikipedia, but in fact isn’t.

The whole thing goes something like this: instead of typing “http://en.wikipedia.org” you leave out an “i” and type in “http://en.wikpedia.org”. You will be directed to a web page that boasts “Premium Content Area” and asks you to “please complete a survey to unlock this page”. Beneath that message, shaded out of view one can see the image of the genuine Wikipedia home page, so naturally the visitors will be fooled into believing the survey is genuine.

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“Users who accidentally type the wrong address might be fooled by this into thinking that the survey is in some way endorsed by Wikipedia, whereas clearly it isn't. And the individuals behind the survey presumably make a few cents every time someone a survey is completed. So how many innocent people will see this survey and may be tempted to complete it? Well, according to the site analytics at compete.com, the site playing on poor spellers receives over 10,000 visits a month. Not a vast amount - but certainly not to be sneezed at either,” explains Senior Technology Consultant and Sophos press contact, Graham Cluley.

It is somewhat similar to email phishing attempts, when you are asked to access your account (online banking, instant messenger, or something like that) by clicking on the link provided in the message. You should never click that link since it will lead you to a phishing site; instead you should type in the YRL address of your online banking account for example, manually. You could just as well click the bookmark you have stored in your browser, just as long as you don’t click that phishing link.

In related Wikipedia news, you might want to know that you can browser Wikipedia articles with no internet connection whatsoever thanks to WikiTaxi, you can blend Google searches with Wikipedia thanks to Googlepedia, and you can enhance the way Wikipedia articles look with Simplepedia.



Tags: Wikipedia
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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