WikiScanner guru tackles anonymous Wikipedia edits

Although Wikipedia has grown in recent times to be a must-check reference on a variety of subjects, there's still a lot of anonymous and unvetted information on the site.

Now it seems that Virgil Griffith, the developer of WikiScanner - an application that detects edits that Diebold and CIA employees were making to Wikipedia pages - is releasing a suite of new tools.

Making the announcement at the HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in New York over the weekend, Griffith said that one of the utilities is an update to WikiScanner that allows Netters to identify interesting Wiki edits more quickly.

The other utility, meanwhile, is designed to uncover Wiki wars that occur between opposing factions - such as duelling edits between Israel and Iranian factions over the Holocaust.

Interestingly, according to Wired's blog pages, he's also upgraded the scanner to uncover insiders who try to hide from WikiScanner by making changes from a Net connection outside of their organisation's network.

The methodology behind this upgrade is brilliant, and exploits a bug in Wikipedia - reportedly now fixed - that exposes the IP address of anyone taking too long to edit a discussion page on the site whilst logged in.

By scanning Wikipedia for the incidence of abnormal edits, as he calls them, he has generated the IP addresses of around 10,000 Wiki account holders whose IP addresses are linked to their user name.

Still with me on this?

Thus, if an account holder uses a non-linked IP address to edit data on the portal, that edit can be flagged.

What a gem. Check out more on Griffith's news here...