Members of the terror group ISIS have apparently hacked the U.S. Central Command’s Twitter account. The Centcom YouTube page was also compromised. The profile image uploaded by the hackers is adorned with the phrase “Cyber Caliphate.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The First Message Read ‘American Soldiers, We Are Coming’
The hack first became apparent at around 12:30 p.m. Eastern time on January 12. The first message read, “AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS.” At 1:10 p.m., the account was suspended by Twitter. An ISIS statement on the attack reads:
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. soldiers! We’re watching you!
2. ISIS Propaganda Videos Were Also Posted to the Command’s YouTube
There has been no official statement from the U.S. Central Command confirming that the terror network is behind the attack. News of the hack came just as President Obama was delivering a speech on the threat posed by hackers and cyber terrorists. In the speech, the president said that such attackers pose a “direct threat” to families. The group posted two videos to the agency’s YouTube page, one was named the “Flames of War.” At 1:30 p.m. Eastern time, the Central Command YouTube page was deleted for “repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines.”
3. Personal Information, Including Phone Numbers Were Leaked
The group has also been posting links to downloadable documents that disclose personal information about members of the U.S. military. The information appeared to focus on retired generals who had their home addresses and phone numbers made public. Speaking to NBC News, a military source said that the social media accounts of military agencies are not classified and that none of the information leaked as “classified.” Another official told the Associated Press that personnel was “taking appropriate measures to address the matter.” The hack was described as “embarrassing, but not a security threat,” according to a Department of Defense official.
4. ‘War Scenarios’ With China & North Korea Were Also Leaked
Among the other documents posted by the group are “war scenarios” that the U.S. military keeps for the possibilities of conflicts with North Korea and China. The scenarios were uploaded in Power Point format. In one of the Pentagon documents, it’s declared that Al Qaeda operatives have bought yellow cake uranium in Africa.
5. The U.S. Central Command Is Responsible for the U.S. Military in the Middle East
U.S.Central Command (CENTCOM) is one of nine unified commands in the United States military. Six of these commands, including CENTCOM, have an area of responsibility (AOR), which is a specific geographic region of the world where the combatant commanders may plan and conduct operations as defined under the Unified Command Plan.
The command is based at MacDill Airbase in central Florida.
Centcom is charged with overseeing the U.S. military in the Middle East. In the aftermath of the horrific Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris on January 7, ISIS sympathizers hacked into numerous French governmental websites and posted propaganda. Earlier in January, a group claiming to be representing ISIS hacked into media outlets in Albuquerque and Maryland.