Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, was horrifically vandalised yesterday. As one of the most popular websites on the Internet, the online encyclopedia is constantly targeted. However, yesterday's attack was far from a comedic tweak to a celebrity's biography. Instead, hackers filled the website with Nazi imagery.
Wikipedia filled with Swastikas
Yesterday afternoon, social media users noticed that multiple pages on Wikipedia were no longer displaying properly. Instead of displaying the typical format webpage, pages were full of Nazi flags. Thankfully, this was a very short-lived attack on the website.
The attack is said to have been the result of the Wiki template being edited by an account. However, the website has not named the attacker, although the account has now been banned.
Wikipedia has stated that volunteers fixed the vandalism within a few minutes of it going online. In a statement to Sky, a spokesperson said the change “was reverted by Wikipedia volunteers within five minutes". Additionally, the Wiki template now has additional protections that should stop future changes.
The spokesperson explains that the introduction of additional security is rarely taken on the website. They said:
"In the spirit of open editing and assuming good faith, this is a step rarely taken with any areas of Wikipedia unless an incident such as this warrants it.”
They have experience with this
Unfortunately, an open contribution platform like this will always result in bad apples. Wikipedia’s long-run as an open-source platform has resulted in constant barrages of unwelcome content. However, the community's experience with these attacks has resulted in a well-trained response force.
"This particularly vile action - a form of vandalism on Wikipedia - is something Wikipedia volunteers have experience with,” said a website spokesperson.
"Over the years, a number of tools and processes have been developed to quickly spot and revert vandalism on the site. Most vandalism on Wikipedia is corrected within five minutes, as we saw today."