BBC: Internet IQ study was hoax

Aug. 3, 2011 at 4:47 PM
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TORONTO, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Widely reported research by a Canadian firm purporting Internet Explorer users tend to be less intelligent apparently is a hoax, the BBC reported Wednesday.

ApTiquant's Web site first appeared a few weeks ago, the British network said. The creator of the site allegedly took photos of the company's "staff" from the Web site of a French company, Central Test, changing some of the names.

In its press release, ApTiquant said it invited 100,000 Internet users to take an intelligence test online and then compared the scores of the users of various browsers.

The story was picked up by the BBC, CNN and many other major news outlets.

The BBC said a number of its listeners picked up on problems with the story, including the newness of the ApTiquant Web site, prompting the network to have Graham Cluley, a senior security consultant at Sophos, examine the source material.

"It's obviously very easy to create a bogus site like this -- as all phishers know it's easy to rip off someone else's Web pages and pictures," Cluley said.

He added the PDF file containing the data many people had downloaded from a variety of sources did not appear to contain malware.

No one was answering the phone Wednesday at the contact number listed for ApTiquant, the BBC said, and the identity of the hoaxer or hoaxers remained unknown.

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