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Hackers pwn PBS in revenge for WikiLeaks doco

Tupac and Biggie Smalls fake news LOLZ

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Hackers aligned with WikiLeaks broke into and defaced the website of US broadcaster PBS over the weekend shortly after it had aired a less than flattering documentary about the whistle-blowing site.

LulzSec took particular offence at the portrayal of presumed WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning during of an episode of PBS's Frontline news magazine programme. In response, the hackers broke into PBS website before swiping passwords and other sensitive information.

The hacker pranksters uploaded usernames and hashed passwords for the PBS database administrators and users onto Pastebin.com. Even more embarrassingly, the prankster also posted the logins of PBS local affiliates, including plain-text passwords.

Just so everyone would know the hack had happened, LulzSec also defaced PBS's website, posting a bogus story (cached here) that claimed dead rapper Tupac Shakur was alive and well in and living in the same New Zealand town as nemesis Biggie Smalls. PBS posted a statement on the hack but that was defaced as well with an abusive message posted against Frontline.

Hacks of this type are normally carried out using SQL injection attacks. Flaws in content management systems are also a popular target. However LulzSec said that it had used a zero day exploit in Movable Type 4 on Linux servers running outdated kernels. That in itself would only have allowed LulzSec to deface the PBS website, but the use of the same password across multiple systems within PBS allowed the hackers to pull off a far more deeply penetrative attack.

Since the hack, LulzSec has turned it attention towards patriot hacker Jester, the most prominent member of the anti-Wikileaks cyber-militia, who attacked WikiLeaks after the release of US diplomatic cables. Unsurprisingly, LulzSec claimed his hacks were "lame" before threatening an attack against long-running hacker magazine 2600. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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