Essex Police Cocks Up, Suffering a Really Weird Hack While Promoting Online Safety

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

It’s been a pretty dark week in tech, with a number of high-profile hacks taking place over the last few days. TalkTalk and the Lancashire police force have both received the unwanted attentions of baddies, and it looks like Essex Police have also joined the club nobody wants to be a part of.

The Essex branch of the Fuzz tweeted out a message in the early hours of this morning, offering internet safety guidance to members of the public. “Be #cyberaware if you shop and bank online,” it read. “Make sure the site's url has 'http://' to protect your data.” Fairly standard, right? Not quite. Not only is the advice in the tweet totally incorrect (an 's' should follow 'http'), but the message also included a shortened URL, which was found to have been created back in 2011, simply leading to the official GCHQ website. Odd.

The tweet has now been taken down, and Essex Police have offered an explanation for the weird little episode. “We apologise for previous tweet re #CyberAware,” they said. “It was malicious & has been deleted - please do not click on the link that was in the tweet.” Somewhere (probably a darkened room in Essex) right now, there's a mischievous hacker who's mildly, mildly amused. [Malwarebytes]