Thousands of Wikipedia celebrity pages were hacked and replaced with a black Nazi swastika on a red background.
Early Monday morning, Wikipedia pages with artistic celebrities, writers and politicians were replaced by a black Nazi swastika on a bright red background. The pages returned within minutes after the changes were noticed by users.
Wikipedia is certainly no stranger to hacking some of its most controversial pages, but this incident has highlighted one of its lesser-known weaknesses. Instead of targeting content on any particular Wikipedia page, the hack targeted a specific article template, used by more than 50.000 different Wikipedia pages, including pages that link to Jennifer Lopez, Joe Biden, and author Terry Pratchett.
Wow - go to Wikipedia now! Looks like it's been hacked. pic.twitter.com/wVKCriERjD
- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) August 16
According to a discussion of Wikipedia administrators, in one of the public forums of the site, the template has been corrected and the hacker in question, who first came to the site about ten days ago, was denied access indefinitely.
One administrator noted that by targeting these article templates directly, the hacker was able to bypass the standard protections placed on certain Wikipedia pages to protect them from vandalism.
It was also reported that administrators have intervened to protect templates used by tens of thousands of pages.