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Hackers claiming to be ISIS broke into a Pentagon Twitter account

The Pentagon has played down the incident, saying no sensitive networks were penetrated and most of the information posted is already publicly available.

Image: Andrew Matthews

Updated 7.20am

THE TWITTER ACCOUNT for US Central Command (CentCom), the arm of the Pentagon which handles the Middle East, was broken into today by hackers declaring sympathy for Islamic State.

The hacking comes as President Barack Obama was giving a speech on cyber security. The military was forced to take down its Twitter feed after the attack but the Pentagon played down the incident saying it it amounted to little more than digital vandalism and that no sensitive military computer networks were penetrated.

“Centcom didn’t get hacked. Twitter got hacked,” Colonel Steven Warren told reporters.

“It’s important to keep this whole thing in perspective. This is little more than a cyber prank. It’s an annoyance,” he said. “It in no way compromises our operations.”

Some of the tweets contained the personal details of high-ranking officers and soldiers, specifically threatening the wives and children of military personnel.

One tweet warned US soldiers to ‘watch their back’.

It said that the while the US “and its satellites kill our brothers in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan” they “won’t stop”.

It claimed that the hackers “know everything about your wives and children”.

CentCom1

CentCom2

Another tweet claimed to contain the details of US intelligence on North Korea. However US officials later said none of the information posted was classified and most of the documents are already publicly available.

The image below had appeared previously on the website of the Federation of American Scientists, a Washington-based non-profit organization dedicated to preventing nuclear war.

CentCom3

The hackers appeared to have used screen shots on defence-related topics from other websites, giving the impression that they had stolen secret documents, officials said.

Some of the documents were labelled “FOU,” or ‘for office use only’, which refers to Defence Department documents that are not top secret or classified but normally treated as confidential.

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The hacked Twitter feed posted what appeared to be an office phone directory of officers, which was slightly out of date, as well what appeared to be a personal photo taken by troops handling a goat in an office.

CentCom’s YouTube page was also been taken over, with ISIS videos being posted.

It came as US President Barack Obama was giving a speech on the issue of cybersecurity.

After the incident today, White House spokesman John Earnest told reporters they the extent of the incident is being examined but pointed out again that there is “a pretty significant difference between what is a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account”.

- With reporting from AFP and Michelle Hennessy. First published 12 January

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