US Central Command’s Twitter, YouTube Accounts Hacked With Pro-ISIS Messages

“AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS,” reads one social media message

Last Updated: January 12, 2015 @ 2:47 PM

U.S. Central Command’s official Twitter and YouTube accounts were hacked on Monday by a group or individual threatening American soldiers and praising ISIS, a defense official told TheWrap. The Twitter account, @CENTCOM, has since been suspended and taken offline.

“AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS,” one message read.

Another of the tweets read “I love you ISIS.”

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed the breach later Monday afternoon in a statement which characterized the attacks as “purely as a case of cybervandalism.”

“Earlier today, U.S. Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube sites were compromised for approximately 30 minutes. These sites reside on commercial, non-Defense Department servers and both sites have been temporarily taken offline while we look into the incident further,” said the statement. “CENTCOM’s operational military networks were not compromised and there was no operational impact to U.S. Central Command.

“CENTCOM will restore service to its Twitter and YouTube accounts as quickly as possible,” the CENTCOM statement continued. “In the meantime, our initial assessment is that no classified information was posted and that none of the information posted came from CENTCOM’s server or social media sites.”

The statement came hours after a defense official told TheWrap that CENTCOM’s social media accounts had been compromised. The official went on to say that the Department of Defense was “aware” of the issue and was taking “appropriate measures” in addressing it.

The background image and profile picture of CENTCOM Twitter account were also changed, to show an apparent soldier and the phrase “CypherCaliphate.” Here’s what it looked like before it was taken down:

CENTCOM hack

Twitter

ISIS, an acronym for Islamic State of Syria, is a terrorist organization based in the Middle East. The group is responsible for the torture and execution of captured James Foley, among other crimes. CENTCOM has organized a military campaign against Iraqi and Syrian militants, according to the Washington Post, and is also in the process of training Iraqi troops.

U.S. Central Command is one of nine unified military commands in the United States. It is tasked with planning and conducting operations within the “central” area of the globe. Its “area of responsibility” contains 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

Here’s the full statement issued by U.S. Central Command on Monday afternoon:

“Earlier today, U.S. Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube sites were compromised for approximately 30 minutes. These sites reside on commercial, non-Defense Department servers and both sites have been temporarily taken offline while we look into the incident further. CENTCOM’s operational military networks were not compromised and there was no operational impact to U.S. Central Command. CENTCOM will restore service to its Twitter and YouTube accounts as quickly as possible. We are viewing this purely as a case of cybervandalism.

In the meantime, our initial assessment is that no classified information was posted and that none of the information posted came from CENTCOM’s server or social media sites. Additionally, we are notifying appropriate DoD and law enforcement authorities about the potential release of personally identifiable information and will take appropriate steps to ensure any individuals potentially affected are notified as quickly as possible.”

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