While President Obama announced proposed legislation to tighten America’s cybersecurity and better protect students’ privacy at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 12, the United States Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts were taken over by hackers for about 30 minutes. These cyber thieves went by the moniker of “CyberCaliphate,” saying they were affiliated with the Islamic State militant group ISIS.
One of the tweets in the hack read: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back. ISIS.”
Another tweet stated, “We broke into your networks and personal devices and know everything about you. You’ll see no mercy infidels. ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base.”
The profile’s image was replaced with a photo that included the text “i love you isis.”
At the same time, the Central Command’s YouTube page was hacked to display propaganda videos that supported ISIS.
The cyber threat also included a link to a .zip file called "US Army Files," which included a list of what appeared to be the names, addresses and contact information of retired army officers, as well as budget documents from last year.
Some of the materials were labeled as “FOUO,” or “For Official Use Only,” but none of it appeared to be classified or sensitive information.
The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) is one of nine unified commands in the U.S. military and oversees operations in 20 nations in the central area of the world, including Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The FBI said it was working with the Department of Defense to investigate the hacking of the U.S. Central Command accounts.
In a letter to servicemembers and families following the cyber threat, U.S. Central Command General Lloyd J. Austin III wrote, “The CENTCOM network was not compromised and no classified information was obtained by the group. Also, as yet, there have been no credible threats made to the U.S. military personnel or their families.”
General Austin added, “That said, we do not take these threats lightly, and we will do what is necessary to mitigate them.”