If you didn't know about WikiLeaks (www.wikileaks.org) before July 2010, its downloading of the top-secret Afghan war documents made the organization a hot topic. In the November/December 2010 issue of CyberSkeptic's (pp. 1-3, 8), Susanne Bjorner provides an introduction to WikiLeaks, which was founded by a group of human rights activists, computer experts, and authors who discussed the possibility of creating "a multijurisdictional website." The site was designed to offer the public access to legally and technically protected information that has been retrieved from anonymous sources. The WikiLeaks brain trust believes that offering access to such documents will lead to better governments and stronger democracies while promoting transparency and reducing corruption.
A team of journalists and analysts reviews each submitted document to determine its purpose and to authenticate its claims. Then another group, including anti-corruption analysts, decides whether each document fits the site's editorial criteria. "WikiLeaks accepts classified, censored or otherwise restricted material of political, diplomatic or ethical significance," according to the site. However, anything based on rumor or opinion or information that has been previously published will not be accepted. Additional material may be written by site staff, sometimes working with the original source who submitted the document. Bjorner found some pieces of the site a little confusing but thinks WikiLeaks is proving to be a valuable site for researchers, especially in light of the most recent collection of global reports providing detailed insights into heads of government.
Secure Your Intranet
Denis Zenkin's article (Intranets, November/December 2010, pp. 1, 4--5) seems almost the polar opposite of Bjorner's WikiLeaks story. While the WikiLeaks site exposes supposedly classified information, Zenkin is shouting about the necessity of having a safety net surrounding your intranet.
He's armed with some alarming statistics. One study reported that by the end of 2009, malware infections were spreading at the rate of about 2 million webpages per month. In the next 12 months, that figure grew by 671%. Zenkin says web criminals don't differentiate much between a website and intranet but are "happy to piggyback on any unprotected web application and add it to their zombie network."
At the top of his list of must-have technologies for protecting an intranet are a web application firewall (to prevent malicious code and hacker attacks) and web anti-virus software that scans generated pages before transferring them to the user and notifying the administrator about threats. Zenkin also discusses the value of one-time passwords, the importance of monitoring file integrity, and an "intranet hygiene best practices checklist."
A hacker who gets caught and goes to jail in Edinburgh, Scotland, can get a chance to turn the page and start afresh, thanks to a program that is bringing books to inmates. Jacqueline A. Swaney's article "'Library Behind Bars'Receives CILIP Award for Changing Lives" (MLS, November/ December, pp. 1-3) tells how Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) in Edinburgh, through collaboration with Edinburgh City Libraries, created a library to enhance the lives of people both while they were incarcerated and then when had served their sentences. The HMP Edinburgh Library Partnership, which funded the project, was the 2010 recipient of the CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award.
The library, which debuted in 2008, provides opportunities for improving reading skills, an invaluable service when more than 65% of the prison population has literacy problems. Study desks and laptops encourage user education. The library even supports activities such as gaming. Books can be found on the shelves that range from poetry volumes to biographies and natural history to sports. Prisoners can learn librarian skills so they can perform basic library services.
No wonder CILIP thought this innovative program was worthy of its award, for it truly does seem to be changing lives.
Next month we'll take a look at The Information Advisor and all it has to offer.
Lauree Padgett is Information Today, Inc.'s senior managing editor. Send your comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2011|
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