The official Twitter account for U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, appears to have been hacked by someone claiming to be affiliated with Islamic State militants (also known as ISIS or ISIL).
Starting at around 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, CENTCOM’s Twitter profile picture and cover photo were changed to a black background displaying the words “CyberCaliphate” and “i love you isis” in white letters.
The hackers posted a series of menacing tweets with messages like “AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK” and “You’ll see no mercy infidels. ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base. With Allah’s permission we are in CENTCOM now. We won’t stop! We know everything about your wives and children. U.S. Soldiers! We’re watching you!”
In a statement to Yahoo News, a spokesperson for CENTCOM confirmed that both the agency’s Twitter and YouTube accounts had been compromised.
“We are taking appropriate measures to address the matter,” CENTCOM said. “We have no further information to provide at this time.”
The hack took place as President Obama prepared for speech on the issue of cybersecurity. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest urged reporters to note the “significance difference between what is a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account,” but said that the hack “is something that we are obviously looking into and something that we take seriously.”
The tweets include a photo of what looks like uniformed American soldiers at an unidentified Army base, screenshots of spreadsheets with the names and contact information of military personnel, and PowerPoint slideshows with maps of China and North Korea. While some of the documents say “For Official Use Only” in small letters, they are notably free of any classified watermarks or stamps. In fact, U.S. defense officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told Reuters that none of the information in the images posted on the CENTCOM Twitter feed appeared to be classified or pose any sort of security threat.
About 30 minutes after the first hacked @CENTCOM tweet was posted, Twitter seemed to have taken control of the account, restoring the @CENTCOM profile photo to the generic egg. A few minutes later the account had been suspended. CENTCOM’s YouTube account also appeared to have been hacked and has since been deactivated.