Hackers that seem to be sympathizers to ISIS have taken down Tweeter and YouTube accounts of US Military, leaking documents with controversial information and threatening US soldiers. At the same time, Obama is focusing on US cybersecurity enhancement through the introduction of new bills.
In an embarrassing moment, the Twitter account of US Military was hacked and so was the YouTube account of the US Central Command. The hacking took place in Monday and lasted a little over half an hour, but the symbolism of the attack is evident.
Indeed, the group behind the hacking attacks seems to be sympathetic to ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. With the tension that has been building up over the past few months between the USA and its Military Central Command (Centcom) and ISIS, the attack comes to make the fire even bigger and escalate the relations of the countries involved.
While the hacking was on, the central picture of the Twitter account of US Military was changed and there was a supposed militant wearing a scarf to hide his face in black and white, with the writing that follows: “CyberCaliphate, I Love You ISIS”. Another Tweet stated: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your backs. ISIS”.
The information revealed during the hack was not critical, according to statements from spokesmen of the White House and Centcom. However, this does not mean that the attack was not irritating and did not cause problems to the US Military, as well as the Government.
In his statement, Josh Earnest commented on the hack on Monday: “This is something we are obviously looking into and something we take seriously. There’s a pretty significant difference between what is a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account.” In a press briefing, Army Colonel Steven C. Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “The Defense Department views this as little more than a prank, or as vandalism. It’s inconvenient; it’s an annoyance but in no way is any sensitive or classified information compromised.” There is no evidence that the documents leaked throughout the hack included sensitive data, which would be captured after the interception of Centcom headquarters.
This incident with the hacked social media accounts could not be better-timed, since on Monday the President Barack Obama revealed at the Federal Trade Commission a series of bills that aim to enhance cybersecurity in the United States, after having focused on the problem of cyber attacks. A part of his speech mentioned: “This (referring to online attacks) is a direct threat to the economic security of American families, and we’ve got to stop it. If we’re going to be connected, we’ve got to be protected.”
The hack has been controlled and further actions are being taken by the authorities, according to the US Central Command press release, which, among others, states: “…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.”