Shadow

Cyber Slip-Ups

'Computerworld' Duped by Hoax Web Site

Cyber Slip-Ups
Last week the Web site of Computerworld magazine published a story claiming a radical Islamic group was behind the recent Slammer worm attack that clogged the Internet. The next day the story was embarrassingly retracted after it was learned that one journalist had deceived another. Dan Verton had based his article on an e-mail interview with a person he identified as "Abu Mujahid," a member of Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen. But Mujahid was really Brian McWilliams, 43, a free-lance journalist in Durham, N.H., who has written for Salon.com and Wired News. McWilliams said he had duped Verton because he wanted to teach reporters "to be more skeptical of people who claim they're involved in cyberterrorism." In a follow-up story, Verton wrote, "I feel like I've been had, and that's never ...

Another CNN.com Hoax Story

Cyber Slip-Ups
Microsoft and CNN said they were hit by a hoax after a faked Web page circulated online that reported the software giant had agreed to buy Vivendi Universal's video game operations. The hoax Web site live on an Internet server at Purdue University in Indiana and the student who put up the site was caught and referred to the university's dean of students for possible disciplinary action, a spokeswoman said. Microsoft issued a press release denying the deal.

Fake CNN.com Page Generator shuts down

Cyber Slip-Ups
A Web site that published fake news stories that appeared to be from CNN has been taken offline after the network threaten legal action for copyright and trademark infringement, Wired News reports. The Fake CNN News Generator created pages with CNN's logos, live links and banner ads, and the stories' URLs appeared to originate from the CNN Web site, though they including an '@' symbol, a common spoofing trick (See a screenshot). The site sparked a lot of controversy after some of the faked news stories were picked up by media outlets and reported as real. Mentions of phony stories about the death of musician Dave Matthews and the Olsen twins attending various local universities, for example, appeared in a number of local newspapers, as well as regional radio and TV news reports. Meanwhil...

Another CNN.com Hoax Story

Cyber Slip-Ups
Microsoft and CNN said they were hit by a hoax after a faked Web page circulated online that reported the software giant had agreed to buy Vivendi Universal's video game operations. The hoax Web site live on an Internet server at Purdue University in Indiana and the student who put up the site was caught and referred to the university's dean of students for possible disciplinary action, a spokeswoman said. Microsoft issued a press release denying the deal.

Online Stock Quotes Errors

Cyber Slip-Ups
Those who base their financial decisions on online stock quotes should pay heed: stock quotes on a number of online news sites -- including CBS MarketWatch, CNN and Reuters -- were inaccurate for at least several hours on Friday, according to The New York Times. The New York Stock Exchange apparently created a test computer file that accidentally misplaced the decimal point on stock prices by three places. No word on whether anyone made trades based on the inaccurate numbers, but they were so far off -- General Electric, which closed at $27.10 on Friday, was quoted at $919 -- that they were obviously wrong. If the errors had been less obvious, though, they could have had serious repercussions.

Pitfalls of Technology

Cyber Slip-Ups
When WashingtonPost.com posted a letter from the serial sniper in PDF form, it blocked out certain details, like the owner of a stolen credit card. But because it used Adobe Acrobat software to block it out, people with the software could remove the black marks and read even those details, according to Kurt Foss, editor of Planet PDF.

Paper publishes wrong info pilfered from Web

Cyber Slip-Ups
Student journalists at Washington State University's student newspaper, The Daily Evergreen, made a foolish error when they reprinted information they found on a Web site without double-checking it. "The first Filipinos landed on the shores of Morro Bay, California, on a Spanish galleon called the Nuestra Se?ora de Buena Esperanza, which translates to 'The Big Ass Spanish Boat,'" the paper wrote. The correct translation is "Our Lady of Good Hope." Pinoylife.com, the Web site the material was pilfered from, posted a note this week saying the passage was a joke. "You know, some people really need to learn that just because something is on the Internet doesn't mean that it is true," the site states. "And this harsh lesson is what The Daily Evergreen newspaper learned."

Devil in Details

Cyber Slip-Ups
Details magazine and writer Kurt Andersen have been the victim of an elaborate hoax. The magazine printed an essay with Andersen's byline entitled "Dudes Who Dish." Only problem was, he didn't write it. After someone posing as Anderson e-mailed the magazine, an assignment was made, the piece submitted and the copy fact-checked entirely through e-mail. "This type of thing-unfortunately, given the frequency people use e-mail ? is scary and can happen to everybody," Details editor in chief Daniel Peres said. Actually, only to those who aren't careful and rely too heavily on e-mail. As The New York Observer's Sridhar Pappu points out: "The irony of Details' plight is that in the end, his magazine could have avoided a lot of trouble by using an old, underrated device: the telephone."

Trigger Happy

Cyber Slip-Ups
Forbes.com got a little too ahead of the news on July 19, 2002, when it reported that WorldCom had filed for bankruptcy -- two days before the troubled telecom company actually did so! "The intro text of a page in preparation was released early in error, which is why it was retracted immediately," Forbes.com editor Paul Maidment told TheStreet.com.