internet security

Twitter Hack on CENTCOM: Annoying Prank or Serious Security Threat?

Although the IT incident management team and other officials at CENTCOM, the U.S. military’s Central Command that oversees U.S. military operations in Central Asia and the Middle East including Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, is steadfast in their position that a recent attack on their Twitter and YouTube accounts were “cybervandalism”—an annoying prank—rather than “cyberterrorism”—a serious security threat—questions still remain regarding how vulnerable our government is to cyberattack.

CyberCaliphate’s Prank
If you followed CENTCOM’s Twitter account on January 12, you would have seen CyberCaliphate’s shenanigans that included:

  • Switching the title of the Central Command’s Twitter page to CyberCaliphate with an underline that said, “i love you isis”.
  • Messages included:
    • “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.”
    • “US soldiers! We’re watching you!”

CENTCOM’s Response
As soon as the breach was realized, military officials quickly removed CENTCOM’s English and Arabic Twitter and YouTube accounts from the web and assured the public they would get the sites back online as soon as possible. After their initial assessment, officials reassured the public that no classified information was posted and the information shared by CyberCaliphate was all publicly available. However, CENTCOM stressed that they would immediately notify the Department of Defense and law enforcement agencies if there was any evidence of personally identifiable information being taken so that affected parties would be notified.

The FBI was already investigating CyberCaliphate for its alleged breach of the websites and Twitter accounts of media groups in Maryland and New Mexico.

How Big Was the Threat?
That’s the million-dollar question. You can find experts who believe the CENTCOM hack was just a prank and those that believe it posed a serious security threat. Since this hack didn’t infiltrate an official military network that held classified information, there is hope that this breach just represented a prank that gives the U.S. government an opportunity to safeguard against a more damaging attack in the future.

How to Use This Information
It’s clear that hackers continue to pose a significant risk to business operations for any business and government organization. That’s why it’s never too early for your IT incident management team to reach out to us to discuss the tools and systems we have that can support you during any business interruption. Please call us at 877-833-7763 or contact us online to start the discussion today.

How vulnerable are your IT systems and social networks to a hacker’s attack?