Group hacks US TV website in WikiLeaks protest

Hackers angered by PBS documentary post fake news story on public broadcaster's website titled, "Tupac still alive in New Zealand."

May 30, 2011 23:55
2 minute read.
Rapper Tupac Shakur

tupac shakur 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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LOS ANGELES - A group of hackers angered by a PBS documentary about WikiLeaks has posted a fake news story on the website of the U.S. public broadcaster claiming that dead rapper Tupac Shakur was alive and well.

The group, Lulz Boat, attacked PBS' servers on Sunday, posting stolen passwords and other sensitive PBS information alongside a story headlined "Tupac still alive in New Zealand." Shakur was murdered in 1996.

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PBS took down the story, but Lulz Boat's Twitter page linked to a cached copy.

"We just finished watching WikiSecrets and were less than impressed," Lulz Boat said, referring to an hour-long documentary that aired on PBS' "Frontline" program on Tuesday.

The documentary revolved around incarcerated US soldier Bradley Manning, who is suspected of supplying WikiLeaks with a trove of sensitive military and diplomatic material. The documents have variously titillated and angered a worldwide Internet viewership for the past few months.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whom the United States wants to put on trial for leaking the documents, denounced the program as "hostile" before it aired. The Australian computer expert is free on bail in Britain, fighting extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes.


PBS said in a statement that the hackers also posted login information to two internal sites -- one used by journalists to access information and an internal communications website for public television stations. "We're notifying stations and affected parties to advise them of the situation," it said.

The identity of the people behind Lulz Boat was not known. Somewhat unhelpfully, they described themselves as "a small team of 80-year-old men and people who smoke on webcam." They also proclaimed: "Laughing at your security since 2011!"

Lulz Boat said it was not related to Anonymous, another group of hackers who also consider Assange and Manning to be heroes. Anonymous disrupted the websites of various credit card and online payment companies in December in a protest against Assange's arrest in Britain.

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