By Jon Queally
US Central Command Hackers: “WE ARE COMING”
Claiming to back the Islamic State, group was able to hack Twitter and Youtube accounts maintained by U.S. military
Social network accounts—namely Youtube and Twitter—maintained by U.S. Central Command were apparently hacked on Monday at approximately 12:30 PM EST by an individual or group claiming to support Islamic State militants.
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the CyberCaliphate continues its CyberJihad,” the Centcom Twitter feed said.
Another message read: “AMERICAN SOLDIERS. WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS.”
And another message warned: “ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base.”
In addition, according to Reuters, the Twitter account published a list of generals and addresses associated with them, titled “Army General Officer Public Roster (by rank) 2 January 2014.”
Central Command controls U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Before tweeting out the several messages, whoever took over the @CentCom Twitter account changed the profile to this:
According to NBC News, the organization which calls itself “CyberCaliphate” has previously hacked twitter accounts of U.S. media outlets, including The Albuquerque Journal and Maryland’s WBOC 16. Monday’s infiltration, however, was the highest-level attack as yet attributed to the group.
The Washington Post reports:
The first rogue tweet was posted about 12:30 p.m. It appeared to come from sympathizers with the Islamic State militant group. CENTCOM has orchestrated the U.S.-led airstrike campaign against the militants in Iraq and Syria, and is beginning to train Iraqi troops to respond to the threat in the region.
The background and profile photo of the CENTCOM account were both changed to show an apparent militant and the phrases “CyberCaliphate” and “i love you isis,” using one of the acronyms for the militant group.
The CENTCOM YouTube page also appeared to have been hacked with two Islamic State propaganda videos added to the page and the same “CyberCaliphate” banner posted.
Both the Twitter and Youtube accounts have now been suspended. Pentagon official told Reuters that “CENTCOM is taking appropriate measure to address the matter.” The CentCom Facebook account was not hacked, which lead journalist Spencer Ackerman to tweet:
Even ISIS is like, psssssh, Facebook is over https://t.co/H4OlXbLIPI
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) January 12, 2015
NBC News adds:
Other tweets claimed to include military plans from Pentagon networks. One such image showed a map of China with labels of different military assets. Another supposed Pentagon image featured a map of North Korea with labels for nuclear facilities.
A YouTube page labeled as belonging to Centcom was also apparently hacked. By 1:30 p.m. ET, that page had been blanked.
Government officials told NBC News that the Twitter and YouTube accounts are not classified, and that none of the information posted by the hackers was actually classified—the names and contact information are “official use only,” they said.
The slides containing information on China and North Korea were not military, the officials told NBC, with some of them coming from MIT.
A U.S. Department of Defense official told NBC News “this is clearly embarrassing, but not a security threat.”