Published on January 8th, 2014 | by Joanna Connell



An online encyclopedia that is collaboratively edited by thousands of users worldwide who add new information to it very day.  The website counts over 30 million individual articles in 287 languages.  Anyone can add or edit information on Wikipedia.  The website attracts around 365 million readers, making it the world’s premier source of reference.

Creating an account

Signing up for an account on Wikipedia is very easy.  All you need to do is choose a username and password.  Wikipedia doesn’t have a proper password policy – probably because no or very little personal data is saved on its servers.  You can register for an account even with a password that has just one character in it.

Security features on Wikipedia

Wikipedia doesn’t feature any security options on its user accounts.  You can change your password from the account preferences page, but that is the only security feature that prevents other people from using your account.  For this reason, a secure password consisting of a mix of characters and that is at least eight characters long is suggested.

Configure your security settings

To edit your password on Wikipedia, log in to your account and click on Preferences at the top of the screen.  Under the User Profile tab, in the Basic Information section, click on ‘Change password’.  You will have to input your old password first, and then enter your new password twice to confirm your decision to change it.  Click on the Change Password button after entering your new password to save it.

On Wikipedia, you can also manage and review any connected applications by clicking on Preferences at the top of the screen.  Under the User Profile tab, in the Basic Information section, click on ‘Manage connected applications’.  You will be able to configure permissions for your connected accounts on this page.

Personal data collection

Wikipedia allows users to create an account and use it without having to disclose any personal information.  Wikipedia collects personal data only from users who volunteer it to help personalise and improve the service.  The company will never share the data it collects to other companies for commercial reasons.

Closing your account

Since Wikipedia doesn’t collect user data, there is no straightforward way to delete your account.  However, you can change your username, and flag your userpage for deletion by administrators by typing the code {{db-user}} at the top of the page.

Security record

There haven’t been reports of Wikipedia user accounts being targeted by hackers, or that the system was the target of other internet threats.

Connecting third parties to Wikipedia

Wikipedia users can connect their account to third party applications. The access by these third parties to personal information is restricted by the permissions that users give to the application or web services that they connect.

Tracking shared information

Wikipedia doesn’t give its users the option to track down how any personal information they share is used by the service.

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