On 19 July, the Metropolitan Police’s website was targeted by hackers who posted a series of tweets from the force’s official Twitter account late on Friday night. The account has more than 1.22 million followers. Some called for the release of drill rap artist Digga D. Others simply said: “fuck da police”.
“No comment fuck da police I tell ya”
As news spread of the Met takeover, many people celebrated the online posters:
😂😂😂😂 whoever did this to the Met Police twitter are legendary pic.twitter.com/TLYjnSXYST
— Wahid (@WahidMiah_) July 19, 2019
the met police twitter posting 'fuck off keemstar' is now and forever will be the funniest thing to ever happen
— HIROSHI TANAHASHI HAIRSTYLE REVIEW (@internetratbag) July 19, 2019
It just had to be done… Met Police have provided me with my new Twitter banner 😂 pic.twitter.com/4q9PurWaLO
— Alison Gurden (@gurdena) July 19, 2019
Clearly, those ‘in charge’ had a wry sense of humour:
Broadcaster Jeremy Vine asked what this meant for national security:
If the Met Police website can be hacked like this, then nothing is safe pic.twitter.com/UOnBLnmChU
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) July 20, 2019
The mystery posters also put out news on the Met Police’s website:
— Hot Wheels Goes (@AmyOulton) July 19, 2019
Free Digga D
Several posts called to “free Digga D”:
Met Police are on a different vibe now😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/s10XZ4QzGg
— G. (@MrSmokeCentral) July 19, 2019
As Vice reported, eighteen-year-old Digga D’s tracks were removed from YouTube in 2018:
as part of YouTube and the Metropolitan police’s attempts to reduce the number of drill videos circulating online (they were immediately re-uploaded onto fan channels, where they remain). Months after the controversial but wildly popular underground genre piqued the discerning interest of British media outlets and law enforcement in April 2018, Digga was handed a CBO, or Criminal Behaviour Order’, in court.
As a result, Digga D has to pass any music he makes to the police for approval first. He’s also “forbidden from entering certain parts of London, or hanging out with particular individuals in public”. As Digga D said:
They used [our music] against us… played all of our videos in court. They had a police officer there, who literally calls himself the ‘drill expert’, and says he has been studying us for three years, translating what we are saying in our lyrics to the jury.
Initially, a Scotland Yard superintendent said the Met’s official account was “subject to unauthorised access”:
We are aware that the @metpoliceuk has been subject to unauthorised access and our media team are working hard to delete the messages and ensure the security of the account. Please ignore any Tweets until we verify that it is back under official control. RT
— Supt Roy Smith (@roysmithpolice) July 19, 2019
Scotland Yard also denied any “hack” of its IT infrastructure. It claimed the security issue only affected its MyNewsDesk account, used to issue news releases. A statement said:
Last night, Friday 19 July, unauthorised messages appeared on the news section of our website as well as on the @metpoliceuk Twitter feed and in emails sent to subscribers.
While we are still working to establish exactly what happened, we have begun making changes to our access arrangements to MyNewsDesk.
“We apologise to our subscribers and followers for the messages they have received,” the force added. It continued:
At this stage, we are confident the only security issue relates to access to our MyNewsDesk account. We are assessing to establish what criminal offences have been committed.
One Twitter user explained what happened:
In case you're wondering what's going on with @metpoliceuk:
1. Their PR team use news posting software from 'MyNewsDesk'.
2. Any article they post to MyNewsDesk gets autotweeted to the Twitter account.
3. It looks like they haven't kept their MyNewsDesk password safe enough. pic.twitter.com/m7mVuq2L9r
— dan barker (@danbarker) July 19, 2019
This incident certainly does raise questions about the Met’s internal security processes. Many suspect, from the comments posted by the hackers, that a group of young people may be behind it. While The Canary would never condone any criminal activity, many people are celebrating the hackers. Not only for their technical prowess, but also for their use of humour on the Met’s Twitter account to make some serious political points.
Additional reporting via Press Association
Featured image via screengrab
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