U.S. Military Central Command Social Media Accounts Hacked

The Twitter account @CENTCOM had a message saying "i love you isis."

What We Know So Far

  • The U.S. military's @CENTCOM Twitter and YouTube accounts were hacked, BuzzFeed News has confirmed, in what the Central Command described as "a case of cybervandalism."
  • Several images and documents were shared from the @CENTCOM account before it was suspended. However, Central Command says no classified information was posted.
  • Two ISIS propaganda videos were uploaded to Central Command's YouTube account.
  • The FBI said it was investigating the hack.
  • The hacks came around the time President Obama delivered an address on cybersecurity.


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A spokesperson for the FBI announced the bureau was investigating the hack.

"The FBI is investigating the recent intrusion involving CENTCOM social media accounts and continues to work with the Department of Defense in order to determine the nature and scope of this incident," the spokesperson said.

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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 U.S. Central Command. 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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The U.S. government has launched an audit of its social media following the CENTCOM hack, ordering 800 federal managers to check their social security, BuzzFeed News has learned.

The General Services Administration has distributed information on how to increase security.

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The White House press secretary said this about the hack:

Earnest on CENTCOM hacks: “a pretty significant difference between a large data breach and the hacking of a twitter acct"

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We do not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons.The Pentagon has requested our assistance with an account security issue, and we're working with them to resolve it.
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We can confirm that the CENTCOM Twitter and YouTube accounts were compromised earlier today. We are taking appropriate measures to address the matter. We have no further information to provide at this time.
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The CENTCOM YouTube account has now also been "terminated."

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The @CyberCaliphate account has been suspended.

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CNN is reporting that no classified information was taken:

Sources: No classified info was posted by ISIS sympathizers who hacked CENTCOM's Twitter account. http://t.co/tgdxp6G0wv

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A Twitter account named "Cyber Caliphate" appears to be claiming credit for the CENTCOM hack. The account's profile picture matches the image that was originally displayed on the hacked CENTCOM Twitter page.

The @CyberCaliphate account also linked to the same pastebin.com page that was tweeted by the hacked CENTCOM account, before it was shut down.

The account tweeted this message Monday morning.

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The @CENTCOM account has now been suspended.

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The hack came around the time President Obama delivered an address on cybersecurity:

"I'm announcing new steps to protect the identities and privacy of the American people." —President Obama #Cybersecurity

You can watch the address here.

"This is a direct threat to the economic security of American families and we need to stop it," Obama said during the address at the Federal Trade Commission. "If we are going to be connected, we need to be protected."

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Some of the documents tweeted out from the compromised account bear the logo of MIT's Lincoln Laboratory:

China scenarios that are coming from @CENTCOM twitter account appear to be from MIT's Lincoln Library http://t.co/Xim2ttTSeN

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The official U.S. Central Command website links out to the YouTube and Twitter accounts in question. Additionally, previous Central Command press releases also list the same accounts.

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A YouTube account that appears to belong to the U.S. Central Command also appears to have been hacked.

Two videos titled "O Soldiers of Truth Go Forth" and "FLAMES OF WAR ISIS VIDEO" were uploaded to the site. The site's banner was also changed to the same "i love you isis" image used on the Twitter account.

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Some have pointed out that at least one of those documents is from the Federation of American Scientists website:

The @CENTCOM N Korea image is from the FAS website. https://t.co/JIPmj7QYUh

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It appears that some social media accounts belonging to the U.S. Central Command were hacked.

The handle belonging to the command that handles operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places, began posting documents that appeared to belong to the military.

BuzzFeed News has made calls to Twitter and CENTCOM, and has not received a response. BuzzFeed News cannot confirm any hack at this point.

Reporting by Hayes Brown, Ellie Hall, David Mack, Tom Namako, and Austin Hunt.

This is a developing story, please check back here and at BuzzFeed News on Twitter for updates.

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