Journalist Perpetrates Online Terror Hoax

from the making-a-name-for-himself dept

Aha. Earlier today, I saw an article from The Register talking about how ComputerWorld magazine had removed a story saying that a terrorist group was taking credit for the Slammer worm. They were wondering how that had happened, and now, Computerworld is giving the full story, saying that “reporter” Brian McWilliams played a hoax on them. McWilliams, who recently seems to living up his role as Wired News’ reporter-hacker, (he was the one who “broke” the completely pointless “Saddam Hussein’s email is easily hacked” story) has been running a fake terrorist website for nearly a year, and told journalists that it was his non-existent terrorist group that created the Slammer virus. He says he now regrets that it went this far, and that he only set up the fake terrorist website to get leads on good stories. He even “hacked” his own website to make it seem more legitimate. The Computerworld “apology” also mentions some other questionable moves by McWilliams in his effort to find stories. Update: The Associated Press is running an article about this story now where they quote McWilliams saying he did it to teach people a lesson “to be more skeptical of people who claim they’re involved in cyberterrorism.” While I’m all for skepticism on claims concerning cyber terrorism, I still don’t agree with the methods by which he pulled off this hoax.

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