This just in: After 15 years, Tupac Shakur is still dead.
It seems reports of the rapper's resuscitation have been slightly exaggerated -- or, rather, completely fabricated by a hacking group calling itself Lulz Sec (and/or the Lulz Boat). That "group" took over the website of PBS NewsHour over the weekend and posted a story that Tupac, who was gunned down in internecine hip-hop combat on the streets of Las Vegas in 1996, is actually alive and well and living in New Zealand, raising sheep, no doubt, along with Biggie Smalls.
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The reason for the hack? The Lulzers apparently took exception to a PBS story about WikiLeaks called "WikiSecrets." It/them also released links to PBS network logons and passwords, along with a statement:
"Greetings, Internets. We just finished watching WikiSecrets and were less than impressed. We decided to sail our Lulz Boat over to the PBS servers for further... perusing. As you should know by now, not even that fancy-ass fortress from the third s***y Pirates of the Caribbean movie (first one was better!) can withhold our barrage of chaos and lulz. Anyway, unnecessary sequels aside... wait, actually: second and third Matrix movies sucked too! Anyway, say hello to the insides of the PBS servers, folks. They best watch where they're sailing next time."
Well, if they hated the third "Pirates" movie, they'd better not go anywhere near the fourth one -- it sank shortly after leaving the harbor. Johnny Depp, you have now been warned. Also, Keanu Reeves your iPhone is vibrating; it's Anonymous on line one. Don't answer it.
This is the new rule, it seems. In the past, when you did something somebody else didn't like, you might get a sternly worded e-mail or maybe some crank phone calls. Now your website gets defaced, your passwords buttered all over the InterWebs, and dead rappers come back to life as hip-hop zombies.
I declared 2011 the Year of the Hacker back in February, and so far it has not disappointed. Last week Lockheed Martin suffered a massive cyber attack following a a hack at RSA Security two months ago, where the attackers presumably obtained the SecurID tokens for Lockheed's network. Then there was the attack on previously obscure security firm HBGary Federal, which angered the Anonymous hydra, and on Gawker Media last December, which similarly thumbed its snarky nose at 4chan and got pwned by a group calling itself Gnosis.