It had to happen eventually, but I was saddened to hear that a Wikipedia page had been seriously hacked late last week in order to spread malware.
It seems that a German hacking crew created a German language Wiki page on the Blaster worm that contained false information about a new version of the malware, together with a Web URL for a fix.
The fix - as you probably guessed - was actually a new piece of malware designed to trash a user's PC.
To make matters worse, the hackers then spammed out an email to loads of German Internet users - supposedly from Wikipedia - that directed them to the new page.
According to Sophos, users of its IT security software were saved from the spam messages.
To be quite honest, I suspect that users of most anti-spam services which pool information amongst users would have been saved from such emails.
According to Sophos' senior technology consultant Graham Cluley (fx: doffs hat in presence of IT royalty -Ed) the authorities at Wikipedia quickly identified and edited the article on their site.
"Unfortunately, however, a version of the page remained in the archive, allowing the hackers to send out spam and continue to direct visitors to the malicious code," he said.
HRH Prince Cluley (enough! -Ed) went on to say that the very openness of Web sites like Wikipedia - which allow anyone to edit pages - makes them terrific, but can also make them less trustworthy.
"In this case, the article in question wasn't just misleading, it was downright malicious," he said.
"Everyone should exercise caution and ensure they have appropriate defences in place to protect their computer systems. Additionally, people should remember that if there really is a new threat on the Internet, you're likely to hear about it first from the security companies, not an online encyclopaedia," he added...