back to article Hackers pwn PBS in revenge for WikiLeaks doco

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Jay for freedom of speech

    As long as it 'their' sort of freedom.

    I fail to see how anybody can keep supporting this sort of nonsense that seems to go against everything Wikileaks says to stand for.

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Jay for freedom of speech

      Truly, though why no one in PBS had the common sense to check with their IT people that the doors were locked properly beats me, as does their failure to practise good security in the first place.

      The days of wine, roses and uncontrolled freedom are likely to end, as Bill Thompson mused last year:

      Recent legal actions against Twitter by local councils in the north of England, and the arrests of

      DOS twits in the US and UK ought to serve as a warning.

      1. Rob - Denmark

        The letters are digits, and must contain title and/or required.

        @ Scorchio!!

        "Truly, though why no one in PBS had the common sense to check with their IT people that the doors were locked properly beats me..."

        And what did you expect the IT people to answer?

        "Oh, pease don't air that documentary. We have to secure our servers first, otherwise know as 'something we should have done in the first place'"


        1. Scorchio!!

          @ Rob - Denmark

          "And what did you expect the IT people to answer?"

          Wrong question, wrong answer, wrong temporal order; "Hello IT, we plan to make [notice the tense here, Rob] a documentary on Wikileaks. Any advice? Oh, and have you secured your systems properly"

          IT department: "Hello documentary team; yes, we have very good security, different passwords for all systems, all robust passwords, three failed attempts results in a time out, all systems fully patched [...] however we will conduct a full security review, in addition to those we normally do on a monthly basis, plus we will simulate attacks on the system from outside, to ascertain how good we are".

      2. Xenobyte


        Reading Bill's article it is clear that what we're seeing is the legendary spiral-of-death, the never-ending series of strikes and counter strikes. It will only stop when one party surrenders or is taken out in some way. I expect that Twitter will be penalized in some way for collaborating with the UK-issued warrants, which they clearly should have contested all the way to the supreme court.

        1. Scorchio!!

          Re: Escalation

          Yup. It will become more interesting on the way. I expect a lot of warrants to be issued in the near future, a lot of prosecutions, and a lot of sentences.

          1. asdf

            dream on

            They may get a few for nice photo op but they always lose interest once things die down and the investigation starts getting expensive.

  2. DrXym

    Wow they make such a compelling defence

    So they were upset by a portrayal of Bradley Manning and decide to add balance to the portrayal by defacing a site with a fake story about Tupac. Sounds like this morons are doing more harm than good by their actions.

  3. Elmer Phud

    Keep it up lads (or lassies)

    The US military wanted to just bury (literally) Manning and have tried all sorts of things to keep the ball rolling. They are becoming increasingly concerned that Manning is being shown to not be a superhacker or bent on world domination but someone who was reckoned to be unsuitable for the job he was placed in.

    So they try and use other tactics to run smokescreens - FUD hasn't worked so now it's time for ridicule.

    BUT the tools used for the latest attempt to throw the US public off the trail have been found wanting and with very poor security. Another tool of the Mighty Right was found to be blunt and useless. US Military is becoming desperate.

    Dr Xym - you have been pwnd by the US, welcome to Disneyland.

    1. DrXym

      Didn't you know

      I'm a paid government disinfo shill. That or I'm a person who feels entitled to make a fair observation on a forum whether other people agree with it or not. In this case, some childish vandalism does absolutely nothing whatsoever to improve Bradley Manning's situation or do anthing to explain why his PBS portrayal was perceived to be unfair.

      1. multipharious

        Welcome to the downside of downvoting on El Reg

        Say anything even moderately negative about WikiLeaks and you can count on your downvote statistics increasing significantly. They seem to team up for their side exclusively and love dogpiling any poster that takes a semi-contrary position regardless of what the poster says. Unfortunately this has diminished my interest in the El Reg WikiLeak forums since they have turned into circle jerks for blind WikiLeaks supporters. Serious debate need not apply here. This is mob rules for the neo-conspiracy crowd. They wish to eradicate dissent in all forms.

        The down/up vote needs to be looked at since it is clearly changing behavior...and is that good for the forums in the long term?

        1. DrXym

          You got that right

          "Say anything even moderately negative about WikiLeaks and you can count on your downvote statistics increasing significantly. "

          Definitely. I always get downvoted on any story related to Wikileaks, anonymous or Sony. Occasionally Android too.

          Funny thing is I'm broadly supportive of Wikileaks aims but I don't think much of the personalities involved. I also think anonymous are a bunch of immature babies.

  4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    On PBS?

    Hmmm - I don't watch PBS much but I'll have to go take a look now...

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Getting all philosophical

    I found this comment in that Twitter feed:

    "@trollcraft Your freedom of speech can kiss our freedom of oppression's ass."

    That is, and I'm not joking, a statement of great philosophical depth, condensed in a a single short present indicative sentence.

    You may or may not agree with the content, but have to hand it to him, he can do eloquence all right.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    going after

    an established hacking magazines website: ARE THEY MAD????

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. jake Silver badge


    In other news, kids somewhere tagged something somewhere.

    Graffiti is graffiti. It's unimportant. Paint over it, increase site security, and move on ... but for GAWD/ESE'S sake, don't call attention to it ... rewarding bad behavior is contraindicated in any form of animal training.

  8. Andy 97

    Wahhh boo hoo!

    We don't like something that called one of us a bit of a twatt, so instead of dealing with it in a mature way, we'll act like total pricks.

    Knob heads!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mature way

      How can you deal with the media, especially US TV, in a mature way?

      Anyone, even small groups, are less than a mosquito to them.

      If you know how please do enlighten us.

      Until then I think this is the only way to get them where it hurts. At least they'll think twice before talking rubbish next time.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: Mature way

        "......If you know how please do enlighten us....." Well, I'd suggest something that doesn't draw attention to the cause of your upset! Few people outside of the US would even know what PBS is, let alone that there was a documentary that upset Anonyputzers being broadcast. From what I recall from trips to the States, PBS doesn't exactly have massive viewing figures. But I bet there are now many, many more people in the States who didn't see the original showing, plus many abroad, all looking for a copy so they can see what the Anonyputzs are getting in a lather about. Way to go, morons, you just made your own problems bigger! What a bunch of buffoons!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          And by "something that doesn't draw attention to the cause of your upset" you mean what exactly?

          Come on you have to admit it's a bit hard to send a message to these people without drawing attention.. they are the media after all.

          At least this is just a bit of public humiliation for PBS, something else might have been a bit more criminal.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

            RE: @Matt

            Big laugh - whatever defacement was achieved, into hasn't stopped PBS having the Frontline documentary on their site. It's an interesting piece, complete with accusations that Manning admitted to Lamo that he was in contact with Assnut directly; that Assnut tried to get Lamo to "change the characterisation of his story" (i.e., lie); that Assnut did say he couldn't give a frig about any of the informers and had to be badgered into redacting their names; and that Assnut's first concern was how much money he could make out of Manning's leaks. Not surprised it upset the Anonyputzs!

      2. DrXym


        "How can you deal with the media, especially US TV, in a mature way?"

        If someone has the means to hack a site, why not do it and put up a well reasoned and cogent rebuttal of the program they disagree with? It would be picked up by news organisations worldwide and their opinion would be heard. It might even generate debate about the program and put PBS on the spot to justify their reporting.

        Alternatively they could hack the site, disclose a bunch of passwords and put some stupid story up about Tupac. In which case everyone thinks some 17 year old basement dweller should grow up a little.

  9. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Well this is what happens when WikiLeaks threatens a Bank

    Whatever you may, or may not, think of Julian and the legion of "followers" who appear to manage to kick their own behinds, that fact remains that WikiLeaks has done a brilliant job of releasing information that DOES change the world for the better.

    How odd that just as they threaten to release the Bank of America's dirty secrets they are suddenly shown to be in league with hackers and fools... assuming of course that the people defacing the web sites aren't employed by BoA and other embarrassed parties.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Dennis Wilson


    These morons are doing Assange no good. If anything they are driving nails into his coffin

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters


      Why do you think Julian Assange is still not in Sweden - and from there on a jet to the US?

      Is it due to our great legal system? Or maybe is just afraid of the mass Internet attack they will face, probably checking all the firewalls in advance...

  11. Anonymous Coward

    F**king anarchists, my arse!

    I love these so called "anarchists", make me laugh. They want a wild-west type society where you can do whatever you can get away with, including vigilante justice such as this hack rubbish.

    Well Mr and Miss Anarchist, if we had out and out anarchy and total lack of control there'd be nothing to stop me coming round your house with a shotgun and painting your walls a nice new shade of claret!

    These online twats like Anonymous need to shut up and grow up!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: F**king anarchists, my arse!


      Meanwhile, what is it exactly that YOU contribute towards a better and more just society?

      There is a saying somewhere along the lines that only those who never make decisions are never wrong.

    2. Hooch181

      Internet tough guy!

      "Well Mr and Miss Anarchist, if we had out and out anarchy and total lack of control there'd be nothing to stop me coming round your house with a shotgun and painting your walls a nice new shade of claret!"

      Except, that you have to know who they are first! Also, they would have the chance to be waiting for you with a shotgun and take you out first!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        So why are they going after 2600? I've not read the latest issue but it does seem a tad strange.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: 2600?

          That is a weird group to target if they are actually trying to support Wikileaks or Manning; 2600 has run editorials supporting Assange, Manning and Wikileaks, Emmanuel Goldtein has discussed the issues and controversy surrounding them on his radio programs in a manner demonstrating his support of them and at The Next HOPE conference last year had a keynote on Wikileaks delivered by Jacob Applebaum when Assange backed out due to concerns about detention by US authorities. If these people are claiming to support Wikileaks, Assange or Manning I would think that 2600 would be one of the last places they would target... unless of course they are having a Judean People's Front vs People's Front of Judea moment.

    3. Smokey Joe

      Re: F**king anarchists, my arse!

      It's almost as if you're confusing mob rule with anarchism...

      That's what happens when you rely on the media for implied definitions rather than checking the political philosophy section of your local library.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Re: going after

    yeah... an established hacking magazine.... 20 years ago..

    2600 is too lame nowadays.

    also coolface.jpg

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Re: going after

      Yeah, most of the readership are entertaining themselves in places like news:alt.2600, news:alt.hackers.malicious [...] and of course in IRC.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Why so serious?

    Why do people get so worked up over these groups? They're quite clearly not doing it as any sort of moral crusade or offering a childish response in any argument over wikileaks, the "lulz" part of the name gives that much away.

    They're doing it because they find it funny, nothing more, nothing less.

    If you don't then fine, move on, relax, take deep breaths, don't think about it anymore etc. In fact they probably find it even funnier that you all take notice of them and get this worked up.

    (On a related note, I find it funny that all the media outlets are reporting this group as if they're somehow separate from anonymous because they don't match the media created persona of "anonymous" or come from the media decided "headquarters" of anonymous, this is anonymous.)

  14. Stevie


    Mos commentators are missing the point, as usual.

    Does anyone think cyber-tantrums are an appropriate reaction here? Way to deny free speech selectively, cybertwerps!

    I have finally seen the Wikileaks Supporters and they are indistinguishable from the Bush Administration in their desire to totally control the message no matter what the cost.

    PBS IT people? I doubt PBS has the sheckles it would need to employ such IT geniuses who post here regularly, and who would undoubtedly have secured the servers in some ironclad fashion.

  15. Lamont Cranston

    Further proof, were it needed,

    that the internet isn't so much about the free exchange of information and ideas, and more an outlet for pornography and a playground for childish idiots (mostly the latter, in this story).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      internet came from chaos

      and it was always a playground, pbs et al dont realize that now people can do more than just shout at the screen when someone spews garbage. childish? idiots? so what would a mature response be like? "we disagree with teh portrayal blah blah blah", pbs: "thank you for your's a cookie"? any us media channel is like that "we tell you who the baddies are, trust us." funny as hell to see the slipper fly the other way.

      well done lads, good show.

  16. sindegra


    So Frontline shows a documentary that actually tries to give a more nuanced story of the wikileaks debacle, you know nuanced as in /what actually happened/, and those 'Anonymous' fuckwits think that's wrong? "Free speech, what is that?"

    These assholes now have even less moral ground to stand on than they already had.

  17. tom 24

    Just not impressed

    Hacking PBS? Weak.

    If you can't take a little criticism, it says a lot about the strength of your position.

  18. Mike VandeVelde

    watch it here:

    Also see the "Chat with the Reporters & Brian Manning" transcript, with Julian Assange and David House calling in:

    Why would PBS be high on anyone's target list? Not a flattering story sure, but wow man.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: watch it here:

      "......Why would PBS be high on anyone's target list?....." Well, that is the key to understanding the Anonyputzers. It's simply the mentality of the playground bully - pick on the weakest target. Everyone knows PBS is not going to have uber-security becuase PBS is hardly some major corporation rolling in dough. Why risk getting caught trying to hack a target with real defences and real worth when you can beat up on the easy target and then brag about how 1337 you are?

  19. asdf

    yeah f__k bert and ernie

    That evil lefty commie propaganda that PBS spouts to our kids through such subversive programs like Sesame Street is ruining America. Thats ok America Palin will fix everything in 2012 (how dare that hard nose hard news reporter Katie Couric ambush her with trick questions like what was the last thing you read).

  20. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up



    PBS is just pissed off because people like Bradley Manning have the cajones to do what's right, and because WikiLeaks is doing their job better than PBS. Their whole "report" was a smear job on Manning and Wikileaks. PBS got what it deserved.

    Boo yah!

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge


      I'm hoping that was humour, but I suspect otherwise given the poor grasp of reality shown by most Wikileaks supporters.

      "....Bradley Manning have the cajones to do what's right....." Sorry, but with every new bit of info it looks more and more like Manning is just an attention seeking loser, upset that he couldn't fit in into the Army, that threw a whobbler after his boyfriend dumped him! So far, his motivations look far from noble and more like those of a child. I'm not surprised the Anonyputzers got upset by a PBS documentary that showed how shallow Manning's and Assnut's claims to the moral high ground really are.

  21. elderlybloke


    PBS seems remarkable to me , only for the washed out colours of faces on their TV site.

    They are however not extremists like Fox, that I watch only when wanting something to amuse me.

  22. unitron

    Adrian Lamo? Really?

    It's on a TiVo around here somewhere, haven't had time to watch it yet, but did Frontline really treat Lamo as a reliable, credible source? Really?

  23. arnica2007
    Black Helicopters

    Off to my Montana mountain bunker complex - w/ rifle in hand! LOL!

    The Internet is for EVERYBODY, not just those who are approved of. That is anarchy in itself, IOW NO-Archy, or pyramid scheme of power mongers deciding who will or will not have access, or participate. ANARCHY IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH CHAOS! Granted the hack was an immature way, but it REALLY served it's purpose - ATTENTION to how our beloved Public Broadcasting System is very manipulated and biased. Amazing how the Right wing gets the Left to pay for it, but we still know whose holding the reigns. The government, control freak, overly nationalistic, FASCIST war mongers who don't want people to see how THE GOVERNMENT DOES WHAT EVER IT DAMN WELL PLEASES! INCLUDING RANDOMLY KILLING PEOPLE ON ANY SIDE OF THE PLANET! NPR IS GUILTY OF NOT GIVING US THE CORRECT, UNBIASED OR ADEQUATE INFORMATION. Deed has been served.

  24. Sean Bailey
    Thumb Down


    As far as I see it.

    Soldier gets a decent role, throws a tantrum, commits treason, releases classified information to some internet journalist wannabe.

    Internet Journalist wannabe releases information on website and gives it to a few 'real' journalistic outlets.

    Shitstorm ensues, soldier gets caught, wannabe gets famous.

    For those philosophers banging on about anarchy, just which flavour are you considering? I'd love to see the world get by with collective non state law and freedom without violence but if you're that desperate there are communities out there you could go join.

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