The official Twitter feed and YouTube page for US Central Command (CENTCOM) were hacked on Monday. The hacker(s) posted messages threatening CENTCOM staff and warning that “ISIS,” an acronym commonly used in the West to describe the Islamic State, had infected CENTCOM’s computers.
US officials appear to have regained control of the accounts since they were initially hacked.
CENTCOM uses its Twitter feed to regularly post updates on the airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Of course, just because the hacker(s) claims to be acting on behalf of ISIS it does not mean the cyber intrusion was necessarily launched by the group. Western officials and journalists frequently call the Islamic State “ISIS” or “ISIL,” which is a reference to the group’s previous name, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, or the Levant. But the organization changed its name to simply the “Islamic State” in June.
Some of the posts mention the “CyberCaliphate.” A Twitter account using that handle has been suspended.
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the CyberCaliphate continues its CyberJihad,” one of the hacked tweets read. A roster of CENTCOM staff members, including their contact information, was included in the tweet.
Another tweet read: “AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS.” The hashtag #CyberCaliphate was included in the tweet.
Still another tweet included a longer message.
“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,” the message reads. “You’ll see no mercy infidels. ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base. We won’t stop! We know everything about you, your wives and children. U.S. soldiers! We’re watching you!”
The authors of the tweet then claimed that “confidential data” from CENTCOM mobile devices was included in a file that was linked to in the tweet.
Two other tweets purportedly show US intelligence surveillance of China and North Korea.