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editorial | police website

Fighting hackers with hip-hop

Police Commissioner Ed Davis lets viewers in on the joke about the department’s video.

WHEN THE cyberhackers of Anonymous set their wrath on Boston police in February, they managed to bring down the department’s main news and information website, bpdnews.com. They also brought out the muse in the Boston cops, who responded by poking fun at the attack.

Apparently because police had cleared out the Occupy Boston protests, members of Anonymous infiltrated and defaced the department’s main website, replacing the usual flow of public information with a video for “Sound of Da Police’’ by rapper KRS-One. Anonymous bragged that the site had fallen “to the swift merciless vengeance of the hive.’’ But if the cyberattack demoralized Boston officers, they certainly didn’t show it.

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Refusing to take the hackers seriously, the department posted a self-deprecating video on YouTube - and even repurposed the KRS-One song. ’’Woop-woop! That’s the sound of da police,’’ the music blares. A seemingly clueless police officer appears, explaining that he was getting coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts when a cashier told him about the hacking. Another officer says he was just scrolling the website, reading all the “positive news,’’ when it went down. Still another officer woodenly assures viewers that the problem is completely fixed. There is even a Spanish-speaking cop who does a little subtle salesmanship, mentioning that the website is translated into 36 different languages.

The video is so deadpan that it can be hard to tell whether the department is oblivious or just kidding. But Commissioner Ed Davis enters at the end to explain, joking aside, that the website is now secure.

There are numerous ongoing investigations against Anonymous. But maybe there’s another weapon against the group: humor. As of this week, the video has been viewed more than 160,000 times.

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