Hackers Pledging Allegiance To ISIS Take Over CENTCOM’s Twitter Account

UPDATED: Jan. 12, 2014 5:24 p.m.

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The official Twitter and YouTube accounts for the U.S. Central Command was hacked by a group that pledges allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

[tweet https://twitter.com/CBSNLive/status/554699266053373952 width=’330′]

Hackers known as Cyber Caliphate took over the CENTCOM Twitter account Monday afternoon. The hackers changed CENTCOM’s Twitter avatar and cover photo to a hooded man clad in black with the words “I love you ISIS.”

CENTCOM released this statement in repsonse to the hack later 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.”

CENTCOM suspended its Twitter account following the hack.

Cyber Caliphate posted a message to Paste Bin telling American soldiers that ISIS is coming for them.

“AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS. CyberCaliphate

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the CyberCaliphate under the auspices of ISIS continues its CyberJihad. While the US and its satellites kill our brothers in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan 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. With Allah’s permission we are in CENTCOM now. We won’t stop! We know everything about you, your wives and children. U.S. solders! We’re watching you!

There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet! There is no law but Sharia!”

The hackers released contact information of dozens of military personnel. They also released information related to China and Korean scenarios.

The group also hacked into CENTOM’s YouTube page, posting several ISIS propaganda videos.

A Pentagon official told Reuters that “CENTCOM is taking appropriate measure to address the matter.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that they are looking into the hack.

“I can tell you this is something that we’re obviously looking into and something we take seriously. However, just a note of caution to folks as they’re covering this story, there is a pretty significant difference between what is a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account. So we’re still examining and investigating the extent of this incident, but I don’t have any information beyond that for you,” Earnest told reporters.

Hacking group Anonymous claims they traced the Cyber Caliphate hacker to Maryland.

“We’ve traced the hacker who infiltrated CENTCOM to somewhere in the State of Maryland. FBI, you’re welcome,” the group said on Twitter.

[tweet https://twitter.com/TheAnonMessage/status/554728972534431744 width=’330′]

The Cyber Caliphate group took credit last week for hacking the Twitter accounts of Maryland television station WBOC-TV and The Albuquerque Journal.

It’s unclear whether the hackers are genuine members or even supporters of the Islamic State group. Tech-savvy pranksters routinely make bogus claims or falsify their allegiances in bids to get attention.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher confirmed last week that the agency was looking into the New Mexico case. An FBI spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for comment about whether the Maryland cyberattack was under investigation, though the station said in its news report Tuesday that it was speaking to the agency.

Also in the report, WBOC cited the FBI as saying “similar attacks have been quietly happening to media companies across the United States.”

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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