Hackers claiming to work on behalf of Islamic State terrorists seized control of the social media and online video accounts of the military’s U.S. Central Command on Monday. The Pentagon swiftly suspended the sites and said it appears that no classified material was breached.
The hacker group appears to be the same one that is under FBI investigation for hijacking the websites or feeds of media outlets in the last month, including a Maryland station and a New Mexico newspaper.
The Central Command social media site was filled with threats that said “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.” Other postings appeared to list names, phone numbers and personal email addresses of military personnel, as well as PowerPoint slides and maps.
Most of the material was labeled “FOUO,” which means “For Official Use Only,” but none of it appeared to be classified or sensitive information, suggesting the hackers did not breach classified material.
One of the documents appeared to be slides developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center focused on national security. The slides appeared to depict what it called “scenarios” for conflict with North Korea and China.
“This is little more than a prank or vandalism. It’s inconvenient and it’s an annoyance. But that’s all it is,” said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. “It in no way compromises our operations in any way shape or form.”
“This is something we’re obviously looking into, and something we take seriously,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. But he cautioned against comparisons to the broader hack attack against Sony. “There’s a pretty significant difference between what is a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account,” he said.