Key Military Command's Twitter, YouTube Sites Attacked - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Key Military Command's Twitter, YouTube Sites Attacked

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A screen shot of the Twitter account for the US Military Central Command, which was apparently the victim of a cyber attack. A screen shot of the Twitter account for the US Military Central Command, which was apparently the victim of a cyber attack.
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     It was a chaotic Tuesday afternoon in the WBOC NewsPlex. And it all started when a group calling itself Cyber Caliphate found it's way into WBOC's twitter account and website.More
     It was a chaotic Tuesday afternoon in the WBOC NewsPlex. And it all started when a group calling itself Cyber Caliphate found it's way into WBOC's twitter account and website.
    More
WASHINGTON (AP/WBOC)- Cyber attackers claiming to be working on behalf of Islamic State militants seized control of the Twitter and YouTube sites of the military's U.S. Central Command on Monday, but the Pentagon swiftly suspended the sites and said no classified material was breached.

The group behind the cyber attacks appears to be the same one that is under FBI investigation for hijacking the websites or Twitter feeds of media outlets in the last month, including WBOC TV and a New Mexico newspaper.

The Central Command Twitter 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 attackers 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.    

The tweets came shortly after U.S. Central Command posted its own tweets about the U.S. and partner nations continuing to attack Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria and one repeating a report that said France will deploy an aircraft carrier to the fight.    

The attackers titled the Twitter page "CyberCaliphate" with an underline that said "i love you isis." And the broader message referred to the ongoing airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and threatened, "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."    

It added: "US soldiers! We're watching you!"    

The intrusion on the military Twitter account carried the same logo, "CyberCaliphate" name and photo that appeared on WBOC's website and Twitter feed last Tuesday when they were hit by cyber attacks. While WBOC regained control of its website very shortly after the attack, the station's Twitter feed remains compromised. The Twitter feed of the Albuquerque Journal newspaper in New Mexico was also attacked, but has since regained control of its Twitter account. 

Some IS militant videos also were posted on the Central Command YouTube site, purporting to show military operations and explosions.    

"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.    

A senior defense official confirmed that the two accounts were compromised and said U.S. Central Command was taking appropriate measures to address the matter. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak about it publicly on the record.

The military suspended the Central Command Twitter site and terminated the YouTube site. This is not the first time that U.S. government websites or other accounts have been hacked. It was not clear whether the site was attacked by the insurgent group or by sympathizers.

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