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PBS Web Sites and Databases Hacked 387

Posted by samzenpus
from the hacker-supported-news dept.
wiredmikey writes "Late Sunday night, hackers gained access to several areas of PBS Web servers and were able publish a fake news story on a PBS news blog. The group also published PBS internal user login information that they were able to siphon out of PBS databases. The fake story was about rapper Tupac Shakur, who died in 1996 after being shot in Las Vegas, being been found alive and well in a small resort in New Zealand. A group going by the name of 'LulzSec' claimed responsibility for the hack, saying the attack was a protest against a PBS Frontline broadcast last week about WikiLeaks."
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PBS Web Sites and Databases Hacked

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  • Once apon a time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRealQuestor (1750940) on Monday May 30, 2011 @07:46PM (#36291750)
    I found all this mildly amusing.

    not any more :(

    • by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Monday May 30, 2011 @07:58PM (#36291798)

      Agreed. I don't find it amusing at all.

      Now I find it illuminating. It seems that too much effort is spent making Javascript animated menus and Flash sliding widgets and not enough effort is spent on patches, updates, and decent password policy. Corporate culture prioritizes pretty pictures to sell us more shit we don't need. Meanwhile our personal information - and therefore capacity to buy said shit - is in danger of being leaked.

      From Sony to PBS and HBGary in between, too many companies are Doing It Wrong.

      • by Culture20 (968837) on Monday May 30, 2011 @08:53PM (#36292054)

        Corporate culture prioritizes pretty pictures to sell us more shit we don't need.

        And yet, isn't PBS a non-profit?

        • Sort of.

          They don't pay dividends, but they do have highly-paid executives. They take money from taxpayers, and additionally have advertising: their shows are all standard "44 minute hours" with the remaining time taken up letting us all know about how this show was made possible by a grant from the buystufffromus corporation.

          As an aside, I really fail to see how "not paying dividends" became some kind of measure of a company's altruism. Let alone a positive one.

      • Re:Once apon a time (Score:5, Informative)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Monday May 30, 2011 @09:00PM (#36292092)

        Now I find it illuminating. It seems that too much effort is spent making Javascript animated menus and Flash sliding widgets and not enough effort is spent on patches, updates, and decent password policy. Corporate culture prioritizes pretty pictures to sell us more shit we don't need. Meanwhile our personal information - and therefore capacity to buy said shit - is in danger of being leaked.

        The Javascript animated menus and Flash widgets are cheap. They're (largely) a one-time cost that is often subsidized by being the same underlying code being packaged and sold to multiple clients. Hire someone to deploy a customized CMS and voila - done.

        Patching, updating, and enforcing standards is expensive. You have to hire people to constantly follow the process. Those processes take paid hours. If you're doing it right, you're hiring staff that aren't also implementing aforementioned systems serving menus and widgets. And to avoid down-time and (most) ugly surprises, it takes additional investment in infrastructure as well.

        You're right in so far as organizations often get it wrong. But flashy widgets is not the reason.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          The solution is to increase the cost of failure to the point where it makes sense to hire someone to prevent it. In theory we can already do that in the UK but so far every guilty company has managed to wriggle out of it (ACS:Law, for example, had his fine reduced from £200,000 to £10,000 by claiming poverty).

          I'd suggest a minimum £100 per person affect, plus the provision of free identity protection and an unlimited liability for any fraud that occurs as a result. Enact

    • Nobody was seriously harmed in the hack. My amusement has made up for your lack thereof.
    • Just to make sure, we're not amused about Tupac, right?
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      That was your error. It never really was amusing. It has always been an attack on freedom of expression and in this case the press. There is a reason why vigilantes are not a good thing.

    • by Pollux (102520) <speter AT tedata DOT net DOT eg> on Monday May 30, 2011 @10:40PM (#36292588) Journal

      ...was my reaction to this story.

      My first reaction was, "What? PBS? FrontLine? Really, guys, now you've gone too far."

      But then, when I took a step back, I realized that I was portraying a double-standard. When Anonymous (or its derivatives) goes after Big-Corp, we all stand beside the hackers and shout out chants of "Yea, they're finally getting what's coming to them!" But when they attack an organization I have lots of respect for, it's only then where I feel that they've crossed a line.

      But really, now that I see it, it is a double standard. When I now reflect on it all, it truly doesn't matter whether they are targeting an organization I have no respect for or one I have complete respect for. It is illegal. They are breaking the law and disrupting the business of the public. It needs to stop.

      And shame on us for trying to rationalize a double standard.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        But really, now that I see it, it is a double standard. When I now reflect on it all, it truly doesn't matter whether they are targeting an organization I have no respect for or one I have complete respect for. It is illegal. They are breaking the law and disrupting the business of the public. It needs to stop.

        Joking (but only half of... the other half just controversial)

        No, it doesn't! It needs to continue until all the vulnerable sites go "extinct as a species". Not only it will be better for the site owners, but this will lead to a higher respect for security and better payment for ethical IT business/professionals.
        Why is it better for the owners of the site to externalize the cost of securing their site to the tax-payers that need to support the cost of police/prosecution/incarceration of victim-less "hacki

      • by jank1887 (815982)

        well, lets think about it one step deeper:

        why did many of us condone or at least find humorous the initial 'big-corp' attacks? IIRC, it's because they (Visa/Mastercard, etc.) were cutting off services to Wikileaks. At the time it seemed they were doing this mainly based on allegations of illegal actions by Assange, the primary face for Wikileaks, but not Wikileaks. There were rather groundless assertions by the US that Wikileaks had done something illegal, but nothing that could really hold water. So, peopl

      • by nadaou (535365) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @12:47AM (#36293318) Homepage

        > And shame on us for trying to rationalize a double standard.

        there's nothing inherently wrong with double standards as long as you don't exclude inseparable externalities. (in which case there never really was a true double standard in the first place)

        when people throw shoes at Pres. Bush, it's funny.

        when people throw shoes at Stephen Hawking it's not.

  • by CaptainAmerica1941 (689079) on Monday May 30, 2011 @07:49PM (#36291764)
    Say what we like or we'll stamp our feet and hack your site! What happened to freedom of information? Or is it just WikiLeaks approved information?
  • It is ironic that they violated the very freedom they see as being threatened

    • by ThorGod (456163)

      Yeah, I thought the same thing! By threatening anyone with a contrary opinion as theirs they're acting as censors - and apparently/supposedly that's what they were against the whole time.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      It is ironic that they violated the very freedom they see as being threatened

      How did they violate it? Care to point to an information that shows that PBS was at any time in no position to express themselves?

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday May 30, 2011 @07:53PM (#36291784)

    These punks need to learn that there are consequences for their actions. The trolling culture on the internet today teaches kids (and man-children) that as long as you're laughing, you win, and there are never any consequences for fucking with people. A reminder of how the real world works is long overdue.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2011 @07:56PM (#36291792)

      That is how the real world works.

    • What we need right now is a clear message to the people of this country. This message must be read In every newspaper, heard on every radio, seen on every television. This message must resound throughout the entire interlink! I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion. I want every man woman and child to understand how close we are to chaos.
    • Good luck, they're behind 7 proxies.

    • by jthill (303417)

      Al Jazeera has been doing a pretty good job covering what Anonymous is for [aljazeera.net]. They have a slightly different take than you, because they actually have a sense of proportion.

      Posting a spoof story is about as far from reason to get all high-and-mighty as possible. I'd try to mock you for your dudgeon, but it'd be like quoting Sarah Palin. The kids gotta practice on something.

      That said, this smells an awful lot like lalalalaican'theeeerrrreyouuu, and I hope they get properly shamed for it.

  • "...A group going by the name of 'LulzSec' claimed responsibility for the hack, saying the attack was a protest against a PBS Frontline broadcast last week about WikiLeaks."

    And, they chose to fabricate a story about Tupac "Elvis" Shakur to get their point across? Way to go...I'm sure people can find the correlation in there somewhere...

  • Streisand Effect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday May 30, 2011 @08:28PM (#36291934)

    If they really didn't like what Frontline had to say, they could have at least made their fake story a fake-retraction of the points they had a problem with. As Frontline is probably the most accurate docunews show on american television, if they pissed off some script kiddies, chances are the script kiddies are in the wrong.

    I didn't bother to watch the show because I assumed that following wikileaks closely over the years I probably already knew everything they had to say. As it is now, I am going to go watch that episode (it is Frontline Season 29, Episode 13 titled "Wikisecrets" and was posted to usenet in full 1080i about 3 days ago).

  • by PhrstBrn (751463) on Monday May 30, 2011 @08:41PM (#36291992)

    You can watch the Frontline episode on PBS's website [pbs.org]. I love how PBS publishes a lot of their TV content online.

    • by ktappe (747125)

      You can watch the Frontline episode on PBS's website [pbs.org].

      And many of us now will. WikiLeaks is about to learn the full force of the Streisand Effect.

      • by PhrstBrn (751463)
        I personally only watched it because I saw this /. article about it. I didn't find anything particularly offensive about it, unless you consider not bowing to Julian Assange as the second coming of Christ offensive. I thought they were critical, but fair, as Frontline usually is.
  • Not to justifying the hacking per se, but many PBS stations have strayed far from their roots of serving the public interest.

    Nowadays, minutes long blocks of advertising have become routine on many PBS stations. Combined with "bugs" - often multiple! TV station logo in one corner often along others, such as E/I, in another - what the heck E/I means is beyond me other than being more annoying clutter on the screen.

    And as for excessive corporate executive pay, yep PBS has that too. The head of WHYY, which ser

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Slagothor (1156549)
      I had questioned the E/I as well. From the following page: http://tv.about.com/od/frequentlyaskedquestions/f/EI_CTA1990.htm [about.com] Answer: EI stands for Educational and Informational programming. It is a result of the Children's Television Act of 1990, which mandates broadcast stations to program at least three hours of educational programming a week. EI is often seen on Saturday mornings. In creating the Children's Television Act of 1990, Congress was reacting to a FCC report that recognized the role televisi
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Do you have alternate funding schemes in mind?

  • I think the Cookie Monster did it.. it makes sense, right?

  • Sorry I don't have any sympathy for LulzSec or whatever their name (Geeze at least get a cooler name or they are bunch of high school drop outs).
  • Did anybody expect much else?

    Attributing noble (or for that matter focused evil) motives to anonymous is a bit silly.

    They'd be about as happy if it was the neo-nazis or Mother Theresa that they'd hit as long as someone has their panties in a knot due to them.

    You can likely sum up their reaction to some slashdotters being in a tizzy because they hit PBS Frontline as "Mission accomplished!"

  • The Internet Taliban strike again. Anything they don't like, any opinions they don't like, they physically attack. Are they so dim that they can't see their 'fight for internet freedom' is based on bringing to the internet the threat of attack and the imposing of fear on dissenters? Do they believe their actions are any different than religious fundamentalists in Afghanistan burning down schools?

    Here's a tip for the hackers/crackers: even if your beliefs and opinions are hypothetically 100% correct, if you

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