Multiple social media accounts belonging to the U.S. military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) were hacked on Monday, and pro-Islamic State messages flooded the sites.
CENTCOM is leading the U.S. campaign against the terrorist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Iraq and Syria.
“We can confirm that the CENTCOM Twitter and YouTube accounts were compromised earlier today,” a CENTCOM official said in an email. “We are taking appropriate measures to address the matter. I have no further information to provide at this time.” A Pentagon official also confirmed the breach.
The hackers posted a series of tweets to the @CENTCOM account, including personal information identifying several high-ranking officials. Within an hour, Twitter had suspended the account. They also appeared to breach CENTCOM’s YouTube account, uploading at least two videos Monday afternoon before the account was taken down.
The hackers also changed the avatars of both the Twitter and YouTube accounts to a photo of a masked man with a caption reading, “I love you ISIS.”
“ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base. With Allah’s permission we are in CENTCOM now,” one tweet read.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the administration was “looking into” whether the hack only affected social media accounts or had a wider scope. The breach came right when President Barack Obama was laying out proposed new steps for increased cybersecurity in Washington.
"This is a direct threat to the economic security of American families and we’ve got to stop it," he said.
The hackers, which referred to themselves as the “Cyber Caliphate,” first posted a message from the CENTCOM account warning American soldiers: "WE ARE COMING WATCH YOUR BACK."
The group posted a flurry of other messages, including purported “North Korean scenarios” and “China scenarios.”
Here’s what CENTCOM’s YouTube page looked like:
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.