WikiLeaks Documentary Prompts Hacker Attack on PBS Website

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A group of hackers upset by a recent PBS Frontline (www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline) documentary about WikiLeaks breached the website’s servers Sunday and posted thousands of compromised passwords as well as a bogus news article on the show’s blog.

Hacking group LulzSec claimed responsibility on its Twitter page for posting a fake news story that claimed that slain rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. had both been discovered “alive and well” in New Zealand.

The story said the “small resort in New Zealand… allegedly housed Tupac and Biggie Smalls (another rapper) for several years.”

The article was indexed by Google News and distributed through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, despite PBS taking down the story soon after it was posted. The cached version of the article can currently be viewed here.

Newshour kept its readers informed about the status of the attack via Twitter, warning its visitors that the “site has been hacked”.

The group managed to steal passwords stored on Frontline’s databases, which it used to post the fake story in The RunDown section under the byline PBS WebTech.

The group also posted–and tweeted the links to–hundreds of usernames, email addresses, and passwords belonging to PBS affiliates and bloggers, and outside journalists, on PBS’ public bulletin board Pastebin.com.

The hackers also posted a defacement page on the pbs.org site, which it claimed responsibility for on its Twitter page.

LulzSec has successfully breached many large organizations in the past month including Sony’s Japanese website and Fox.com.

Unlike other hacking groups that hack for the purpose of financial gain, LulzSec is known to largely hack for entertainment and notoriety.

In the case of the PBS hack, the group was upset with a documentary about WikiLeaks that Frontline ran on May 24.

“We just finished watching WikiSecrets and were less than impressed,” Lulzsec wrote in its explanation of the hack. “We decided to sail our Lulz Boat over to the PBS servers for further perusing.”

Titled “WikiSecrets”, the hour-long documentary profiled WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who later criticized the program for misrepresenting WikiLeaks’ views.

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