Today General Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of CENTCOM, posted to CENTCOM’s Facebook page a letter to CENTCOM members and supporters apologizing for the pro-ISIS Twitter and YouTube hack yesterday. The letter did not specifically assign blame or describe the method of hack, but a standalone paragraph dedicated to “lone wolf attacks” did hint at where CENTCOM’s suspicions lie.
As discussed in our previous article, several mainstream media outlets are claiming that Anonymous has traced the origin of the hacks to Maryland, a hotbed of FBI, CIA and NSA activity; nonetheless the sole actual source for that rumour is the discredited @TheAnonMessage Twitter account. The only people who would have access to the technical information required to trace the hackers to an actual location would be the staff at YouTube and Twitter, both of whom are notoriously close-mouthed. Just sayin’.
This week, hackers claiming to be aligned with the extremist group, ISIL took control of CENTCOM’s Twitter and YouTube accounts for approximately 30 minutes. They posted tweets with information obtained from the accounts and they also posted threats against military members and their families.
I recognize that this has caused significant angst among family and friends who are understandably concerned about their loved ones’ safety. I want to personally reassure you that we are taking this matter very seriously and we continue to take all possible measures to keep our personnel safe.
With respect to the alleged breach of our Twitter and YouTube accounts, The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in the process of conducting a full investigation. However, you should know that the CENTCOM network was not compromised and no classified information was obtained by the group. Also, as yet, there have been no credible threats made to U.S. military personnel or their families.
That said, we do not take these threats lightly, and we will do what is necessary to mitigate them. Unfortunately, the threat of ‘lone wolf’ attacks by individuals who align with or are sympathetic to radical Jihadist elements exists today, and we’ve seen this demonstrated with the recent tragedies in Paris and before that in New York City and Ottawa, Canada. We must all take the necessary precautions and be highly vigilant to protect against these threats.
Our people are our most important assets and our top priority and that includes our family members. And, we need to make sure that we are looking out for one another. All of you are an important part of our CENTCOM team, and I want to thank you for your many contributions and your strong support. If you need anything or have additional concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to your service member’s chain of command or the headquarters.