PBS took down the story, but the group's Twitter page linked to a cached copy of the site

A group of hackers have cracked the website of US public broadcaster PBS, posting a fake news story that the dead rapper Tupac Shakur was alive and living in New Zealand.

PBS confirmed early on Monday morning on its official Twitter account that the website had been hacked.

A group called Lulz Boat claimed responsibility for the hacking, apparently angered by a recent documentary the network aired on WikiLeaks.

"We just finished watching WikiSecrets and were less than impressed," Lulz Boat said, referring to the network's hour-long programme on the whistle-blowing website.

The fake news item was posted on the site of the "PBS NewsHour" programme, which is produced by WETA-TV, although the WikiLeaks report appeared on a different PBS show, "Frontline".

Anne Bentley, PBS's vice president of corporate communications, said in an email that erroneous information posted on the website had been corrected.

Online heroes

The hackers also posted login information for two internal PBS sites: one that media use to access the PBS press room and an internal communications website for stations, she said.

Bentley said all affected parties were being notified.

The PBS documentary focused on Bradley Manning, the incarcerated US soldier who is suspected of supplying WikiLeaks with a slew of military and diplomatic documents.

Both Manning and Julian Assange, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks who the US wants to put on trial over the leaks, are considered heroes by many online.

Anonymous, another hacker group, disrupted the websites of various credit card and online payment companies in December after they refused to process payments to the WikiLeaks fundraising account.

Assange is currently in the UK where he is fighting extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.

Tupac Shakur, the rapper referred to in Lulz Boat's phony news story, was murdered in 1996.

Source: Agencies