ISIS Supporters Take Over CENTCOM Twitter Account

The Pentagon takes a brief but embarrassing hit to its social-media capabilities.

A tweet posted to CENTCOM's Twitter account Monday.

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This morning, President Obama tweeted this in advance of some expected announcements about cybersecurity in next Tuesday’s State of the Union address:

About an hour later, someone claiming to be a supporter of ISIS took over the United States Central Command’s Twitter feed and YouTube channel. Over the course of about a half hour, several messages were posted to CENTCOM’s Twitter account:

 

 

Another message posted what was purported to be the personal information of US generals (we blurred out some of the details):

They also tweeted a link to this message, which warned, “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.”

 

There were also several screenshots purporting to show war scenarios for various areas around the world:

 

It’s unclear whether whoever did this had access to Pentagon computer systems or whether they just took publicly-available material and posted it after gaining control of CENTCOM’s Twitter account. CENTCOM confirmed that its Twitter and YouTube accounts were “compromised” in a statement Monday, adding: “We are taking appropriate measures to address the matter. Our initial assessment is that no classified information was posted.” A Twitter spokesperson told Mother Jones that the “Pentagon has requested our assistance with an account security issue, and we’re working with them to resolve it.”

This social-media hack could be of the low-level (and domestic) variety, but it’s worth noting that the US government has used Twitter to troll ISIS for a while now.

UPDATE: CENTCOM issued a more complete statement later Monday: “Earlier today, U.S. Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube sites were compromised for approximately 30 minutes. These sites reside on commercial, non-Defense Department servers and both sites have been temporarily taken offline while we look into the incident further. Centcom’s operational military networks were not compromised and there was no operational impact to Centcom. Centcom will restore service to its Twitter and YouTube accounts as quickly as possible. We are viewing this purely as a case of cybervandalism. In the meantime, our initial assessment is that no classified information was posted and that none of the information posted came from Centcom’s server or social media sites. Additionally, we are notifying appropriate DoD and law enforcement authorities about the potential release of personally identifiable information and will take appropriate steps to ensure any individuals potentially affected are notified as quickly as possible.”

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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