Obama gives speech on cybersecurity… @CENTCOM gets hacked

The Guardian reports: Barack Obama on Monday unveiled a slew of initiatives to improve Americans’ data security.

In a speech at the Federal Trade Commission, the president outlined proposals aimed at improving student data protection and protecting Americans’ financial health. They will, however, require approval from the Republican-majority Congress, which has already received three veto threats from the White House in less than a week in session.

“As we’ve all been reminded over the past year, including the hack of Sony, this extraordinary interconnection creates enormous opportunities but also creates enormous vulnerabilities for us as a nation,” Obama said.

Wired reports: Twitter and YouTube accounts belonging to the military’s US Central Command were hacked on Monday. Hackers supportive of the terrorist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, took credit and issued a warning to the US military.

“AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS,” the hackers tweeted through the account for the US Central Command, which is the military command for the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. The tweet included a link to a statement that read in part:

“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,” it read. “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!”

The group also replaced the Twitter profile image with an image of a person wearing a black and white keffiyeh, and the text CyberCaliphate and “i love you isis.”

Forty minutes after the first hacked tweet, Twitter suspended the account.

According to news reports, the hackers also posted images of spreadsheets that purported to contain the home addresses and other contact information for retired US Army generals and other images purporting to be US military maps and plans. The Pentagon appeared to confirm the authenticity of the information, telling reporters that the exposed information was not classified and that the images came not from the government but from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [Continue reading…]

The Washington Post adds: It is not clear whether the hackers are actually with the Islamic State, sympathizers with the militants, or simply pulling a prank on the Pentagon. But J.M. Berger, an analyst and non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, said there is reason to believe it could be someone affiliated directly with the Islamic State.

“ISIS has a team of hackers who are very deeply involved in ISIS the organization,” said Berger, author of the forthcoming book “ISIS: The State of Terror.”

“They have been practicing and recruiting for a while, and this has been going on for months and months,” Berger said.

But analysts added that just because the Islamic State hacked two social media accounts, it does not mean they threatened classified computer networks. Other hacker organizations, like the Syrian Electronic Army, have seized control of websites, and a group using the same “CyberCaliphate” name and photo seen in the hack against Centcom on Monday hacked the Twitter accounts of the Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico and the WBOC TV station in Salisbury, Md., last week.

“Let’s remember this is a social media account,” said Peter Singer, a strategist and analyst with the New American Foundation in Washington, of the attacks on Monday. “This is not a military command and control network. This is not a network that moves classified or even non-classified internal information back and forth. Essentially what they did is for several minutes take control of the megaphone.”

But Singer said the incident does amount to a public relations victory for the Islamic State, even if they were not directly involved. Embarrassing the U.S. government “is a feather in their cap in terms of pulling off something that other groups have not been able to do, no matter how silly it is at the end of the day.”

Whoever hacked the @CENTCOM account, there’s reason to doubt they are closely tied to ISIS — even though ISIS and its supporters will view this as a propaganda victory and make hyperbolic claims like “the landscape of jihad has changed.”

It turns out that the hackers posted pornographic photos:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email