Two teenagers in Scotland, UK have been arrested by police for allegedly hacking into the Metropolitan Police’s website and posting a number of strange messages.
The Met, which is the largest police force in Britain, suffered a cyber-attack in the summer of this year. In the immediate aftermath, a high number of tweets were issued through the Met’s verified Twitter account, followed by around 1.2 million other accounts. Bizarre emails were also sent out from the force’s press office.
Those arrested in connection with the cyber-attack are from Lossiemouth and Glasgow, Scotland, and are aged 18 and 19. Both have been officially charged with executing the hack by Police Scotland.
In the US, president Donald Trump took the opportunity of the hack to criticise London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. Quoting through a tweet from a right-wing commentator in the UK which hit out at officers who had “lost control of London streets” and “lost control of their Twitter account too,” Trump said:
“With the incompetent Mayor of London, you will never have safe streets.”
Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan Police headquarters in London, said its webpage had “been subject to unauthorised access,” and described how “unauthorised messages” had appeared on a provider named MyNewsDesk, which Scotland Yard uses to issue news releases.
Similar messages were also sent out through the organisation’s Twitter account and in emails delivered to subscribers; while they have now been deleted, many of the communications contained offensive language and mentioned people’s names.
One of the messages called for the release of “Digga D”, a “drill” rap artist whose real name is Rhys Herbert. Mr Herbert was put behind bars in 2018 for associating with a machete-wielding street gang.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said:
“Two men, aged 18 and 19, from the Lossiemouth and Glasgow areas respectively, have been arrested and charged in connection with unauthorised access and publication of content on the Metropolitan Police Service’s news platform on Friday 19 July 2019. A report will be submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.”