It seems like the world is up in flames, and adding more fuel to the fire is a recent attack on the Twitter feed for the U.S. military command that oversees operations in the Middle East. On Monday, January 12, Central Command’s Twitter account – which has since been suspended – was hacked by people claiming alliance to the Islamic State militant group being targeted in Americans bombing raids.
U.S. officials said that the U.S. Central Command Twitter account and its YouTube account were suspended after being compromised. Two U.S. defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the hacking was an embarrassment but did not appear to be a security threat.
The news comes as President Barack Obama was preparing to outline new proposals to protect the nation from cybersecurity threats.
President Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, said the White House was monitoring the extent of the incident, and that there was a significant difference between a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the CyberCaliphate continues its CyberJihad,” the Centcom Twitter feed read after being hacked.
Another message said, “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.”
In addition, the Twitter account released a list of generals and addresses associated with them, titled “Army General Officer Public Roster (by rank) 2 January 2014.” Subsequent posts read, “Pentagon Networks Hacked! China Scenarios” and “Pentagon Networks Hacked. Korean Scenarios.”
Central Command’s YouTube account had two videos that appeared to be linked to the Islamic State, titled “Flames of War ISIS Video” and “O Soldiers of Truth Go Forth.” It also featured videos posted by the U.S. military of air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.
“We can confirm that the CENTCOM Twitter and YouTube accounts were compromised earlier today. We are taking appropriate measures to address the matter,” Central Command said in a statement.
Following the hacking, the heading of the Central Command Twitter account illustrated a figure in a black-and-white headscarf and the words “CyberCaliphate” and “I love you ISIS,” using an acronym for the Islamic State group.
Central Command is situated at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida and manages American military operations covering the Middle East and Central Asia. The agency oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently managing the U.S. air strikes against Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria.