Newly appointed Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis has been on Twitter for less than two weeks, and already he's been hacked.

The department's own account was compromised, too.

On Wednesday morning, the department announced two unauthorized tweets each had been sent from the department's account @AACOPD and Davis' account @ChiefKevinDavis, sometime between late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, when they were noticed.

The messages were brief, mentioned weight loss and provided hyperlinks, which the department believes may have been malicious in nature, said Lt. T.J. Smith, a department spokesman.

"We didn't click on any of the links, obviously," he said. "Those hyperlinks were obviously bad links, and we're trying to find out how that happened."

Both accounts had also sent out direct messages with suspicious hyperlinks to some of the department's and Davis' followers on the site, a place where public safety agencies regularly share information with journalists and citizens.

"I can't believe you would do this," was one sent out, Smith said.

"Look here," read another.

Regular users of Twitter are familiar with such messages, which seem to occur relatively frequently, and ignore or delete them.

"These types of short messages, like 'Look at this picture of you' 'How is this possible' etc… are telltale signs of bad links," the department said in a news release about the hacking Wednesday morning.

Still, Smith said people trust messages from accounts that are officially linked to the police department, and users less familiar with such messages might click the links. He warned people not to.

"If you received any inbox messages from either account, PLEASE DO NOT OPEN and DELETE immediately," the department said in the release.

Thankfully, nothing too damaging or alarming was tweeted, he said.

Back in April, a fake tweet saying an explosion had occurred at the White House and that President Barack Obama had been injured, sent by a hacker who'd broken into the official account of the Associated Press, caused the U.S. stock market to temporarily crash, before rebounding.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun