U.S. Central Command’s social media sites hacked

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U.S. Central Command’s social media sites hacked

The social media accounts of a key U.S. military command were hacked and the security breach leaked online in what the hackers called a United States war game scenario for conflicts with North Korea.

The hackers, who claimed to be members of the Islamic State militant group, took control Monday of the Twitter and YouTube sites of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East.

The Pentagon suspended the sites shortly after the incident.

The U.S. Central Command later released a statement and admitted that its social media sites had been compromised for about 30 minutes. The command added that the sites were on commercial, non-Defense Department servers and that its operational military networks had not been compromised.

Calling the incident a “case of cybervandalism,” the command also said no classified information was posted.

The hacker group, which calls itself CyberCaliphate, posted threats against U.S. troops and their families on the sites and disclosed the home addresses of U.S. generals.

“American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back, ISIS,” the hackers said in a post on Twitter, using the acronym for the hardline Islamist group.

Other online posts read, “Pentagon Networks Hacked! China Scenarios” and “Pentagon Networks Hacked. Korean Scenarios.”

The information included PowerPoint slides that appeared to be developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, a national security research institute funded by the American government.

The North Korea scenario included four maps, including one for missile sites and another for major nuclear facilities.

U.S. officials downplayed the significance of the information leaked online, saying they are not military secrets. Similar information can be found through many public resources, including the Internet. They added that the FBI was looking into it.

According to international media, the security breach took place as U.S. President Barack Obama announced new plans to reinforce the country’s cybersecurity following a series of high-profile cyberattacks. Those included the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment in November, which the U.S. government concluded North Korea was behind.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr ]


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