BBC: US Centcom Twitter account ‘hacked by Islamic State’

US Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts have been hacked by a group claiming to back Islamic State.One message said: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.”

It was signed by Isis, another name for the Islamic State. Some internal military documents also appeared on the Centcom Twitter feed.

US Centcom said it was taking “appropriate measures”. The Twitter account was later taken down so no tweets could be viewed.

The hack happened as President Barack Obama was preparing a major speech on cybersecurity.

Several Centcom Twitter accounts and its Youtube channels were compromised and the “hackers” posted some military papers which are unclassified and available on the internet. The accounts are now suspended.

These “hackers” called themselves Cyber Caliphate, are already known and have a Twitter account @cybercaliphate but they used the acronym ISIS in a pastebin post on the Centcom “hack” to attach themselves to the Islamic State:

Pentagon networks hackedAMERICAN SOLDIERS,
WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS. #CyberCaliphate

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.. …

The Islamic State and its real followers never use the acronym ISIS for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In their mind the Islamic State is not confined to the borders of Iraq and Syria. It is universal and has no geographical limits. Any real follower of the Islamic State will know this.

The “hackers” also posted some photo depicting a view down the neckline of a voluptuous woman. Islamic State followers would not do such – at least not in any public representation. For them it is a sin to even view such a pic.

My conclusion is that these were some cyberpunks. Some media guy at Centcom was owned and revealed his password after some social fishing through an email. Or his iPhone was stolen and cracked. Or something similar. Some “hacker” had fun with that. A rather common and irrelevant incident. A fitting XKCD comic strip is here.

Or this “incident” was some military Information Operation to further Obama’s attempts to introduce more extensive internet spying which he is likely to push for in next week’s State of the Union speech.

It would fit to the false claim by the Obama administration that the Sony hack, likely done by former Sony employees, was somehow related to North Korea.

UPDATE (Jan 13 2:00am): See how well the “hack” works as an argument for Obama’s new law which will indemnify private companies which hand over YOUR private data to the government.

A screenshot from the current Washington Post homepage:

Terror! Terror!! Terror!!! We have been hacked!!! Give us your data!

From that first piece:

President Obama plans to announce legislation Tuesday that would shield companies from lawsuits for sharing computer threat data with the government in an effort to prevent cyber­attacks.

The provision’s goal is to “enshrine in law liability protection for the private sector for them to share specific information — cyberthreat indicators — with the government,” the official said.

If this law passes, which currently looks likely, all data stored or passing through a private company will be available for the government to copy, to store forever and to sift through however it likes. This even when you never intended to make such data public.

Meanwhile the British government wants to legally ban all private and public encryption it can nor readily break:

Mr. Cameron, who has started to campaign ahead of a national election in Britain in May, said his government, if elected, would ban encrypted online communication tools that could potentially be used by terrorists if the country’s intelligence agencies were not given increased access. The reforms are part of new legislation that would force telecom operators and Internet services providers to store more data on people’s online activities, including social network messages.

Both proposals, Obama’s and Cameron’s, would be catastrophic for Internet freedom.


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