When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web 15 years ago, he always intended that it should be easy for people to write to it, not just read from it. But if websites are opened up to anyone, they often get vandalised by people with axes to grind. Now, a researcher from Manchester has brought together two of computing’s current buzzwords - the Grid, and Wikis – to overcome this problem.
A Wiki is a web site where users can easily add and edit its content. Although some Wikis ask contributors to pick a username and password, people running the sites have no idea who their users really are, and the better known Wikis have to be constantly on the look out for offensive or just irrelevant additions. The new open source software, GridSiteWiki, combines the functions of a Wiki with user authentication based on security tools developed for Grid computing. Dr Andrew McNab of Manchester University, who developed the new software, will be speaking on Grid security at the UK e-Science All Hands Conference in Nottingham on Thursday.
Dr McNab explains, “Wikis have been plagued with problems of trust and identity: how do you deal with internet vandals using fake accounts? Now were able to tie in with the security being rolled out for the Grid, we can finally make a Web where you can visit a website for the first time and start contributing straight away, without the administrators having to worry about anonymous vandals with fake identities."
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