Dubai Police and the ignominy of being hacked on social media

When your day job is to ensure the safety and security of those around you, it doesn’t get worse than this for Dubai Police. The police force best known for solving crimes in a matter of moments and driving around in swanky super cars (the latest is a three million dollar Bugatti Veyron) has just been hacked by a group with the Twitter handle @TheHorsemenLulz – presumably named after the infamous hacker collective LulzSec.

All but one of Dubai Police’s social media sites have been hacked, including Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Pinterest (Facebook was the only social media channel that wasn’t hacked). While the images have now been removed, a couple of hours after the sites were compromised, here’s a screenshot of the offending image on the Dubai Police Twitter feed @DubaiPoliceHQ.

A screen shot of the image sent out by the hackers via the @DubaiPoliceHQ Twitter account

A screen shot of the image sent out by the hackers via the @DubaiPoliceHQ Twitter account

While the most obvious questions are how were these accounts hacked and how easy was it to hack the accounts, my issue is more about the group behind the hacks who have claimed several other cyber attacks in the UAE, including crashing the websites of Noor Islamic Bank, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the UAE Central Bank. Do we have a locally-based hacker group in the UAE?

In a Tweet that included the @DubaiPoliceHQ Twitter account the group put out a video in November saying they’d be targeting the UAE Government. While the tweet and the video didn’t make too much sense, why wasn’t the issue taken seriously by those handling the @DubaiPoliceHQ Twitter account? With the UAE’s Government Summit taking place in Dubai tomorrow shouldn’t cyber security be top of the agenda for the public sector, and in particular the Dubai Police?

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