7:01 AM, Jan 14, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
The Pentagon called the hacking of the Central Command's (CENTCOM) YouTube and Twitter accounts Monday "cyber vandalism" in a letter to service members and their families to allay concerns about the incident. General Lloyd Austin said that the FBI is investigating the "alleged breach" of the two social media sites by hackers who claimed to be aligned with the Islamic State (ISIS). While Austin said that "CENTCOM network was not compromised and no classified information," he acknowledged that the hackers posted "information obtained from the accounts," he did not go into further detail.
Austin also referred to "the threat of ‘lone wolf’ attacks by individuals who align with or are sympathetic to radical Jihadist elements," examples of which, according to Austin, are the "recent tragedies in Paris...New York City and Ottawa, Canada." The general acknowledged that Monday's hacking included threats, but said there were no "no credible threats made to U.S. military personnel or their families."
In any case, Austin said, the military is taking the threats "very seriously" and will "take all possible measures" to keep military personnel and their families safe.
The full text of General Austin's letter is here:
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.
Although General Austin referred to the Paris attacks as 'lone wolf' events, there have been some possible links to al Qaeda uncovered as Thomas Joscelyn reports in the January 19 edition of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, including an eyewitness account that one of the killers said "You can tell the media that it’s al Qaeda in Yemen" during the attack on Charlie Hebdo's offices.
'First Aspect of Our Response'2:08 PM, Jan 2, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House spokesman announced the sanctioning of North Korea for the "destructive and coercive cyber attack on Sony."
'Cyber vandalism'8:45 AM, Dec 21, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama said the hacking of Sony was an act of "cyber vandalism," and not an "act of war." He made the comments in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, according to a transcript provided by the network.
CROWLEY: Do you think this was an act of war by North Korea?
8:15 AM, Dec 20, 2014 • By MAX BOOT and SUE MI TERRY
December 17 was already an important milestone for the North Korean regime: It’s the day the “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il, died in 2011, opening the way for his son Kim Jong-un to succeed him as absolute dictator. That anniversary was marked Wednesday with commemorations to signal the end of a traditional three-year period of mourning and the emergence of Kim Jong-un as a leader in his own right.
8:35 AM, Dec 18, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
In October 1940, Americans flocked to movie theaters to see Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, mocking the most powerful tyrant on the globe. In December 2014, movie theaters and then the production company cancelled the release of The Interview because of threats of terror from a tinpot, though totalitarian and evil, tyrant who rules a weak and decrepit nation.
'They're kicking in the front door, knocking over the vase, while they're walking out with your television set.'7:32 AM, Oct 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
FBI director James Comey talked about Chinese hacking -- and how basically every American company has been targeted -- last night on 60 Minutes. Comey said that it's not the Chinese are so good, it's that they're "prolific." He likened their hacking style to a "drunk burglar."
60 Minutes host Scott Pelley asked, "What countries are attacking the United States as we sit here in cyberspace?"
7:19 AM, Sep 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In July, a hacker gained access to a computer server used to test code for the federal government's Obamacare website HealthCare.gov, according to a
3:55 PM, Jul 17, 2014 • By KEN JENSEN
What to do about cyber attacks from state actors and their surrogates? For the State Department and DHS it would seem that the answer is now the courts and international negotiation. Hints of this came recently with the indictment of 5 Chinese military personnel for hacking. An utterly futile gesture as the Chinese are not about to extradite the 5 to stand trial, it bespeaks reliance on legal remedies that are, at best, only a matter of public shaming. Now, however, there is new evidence regarding the U.S. intent to negotiate on cyber with state actors like China, Russia, and Iran.
8:17 AM, Jul 16, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The threat to the U.S. government and U.S. businesses from foreign hackers, especially from China, has been increasingly in the news in recent months. In a little noticed WTOP interview last week, recently installed National Counterintelligence Executive William Evanina expressed the threat in terms that almost seem hyperbolic:
7:01 AM, Jul 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Agence France-Presse State Department correspondent Jo Biddle is claiming on Twitter that members of the media traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry to China "have had their bank accounts hacked."
7:05 AM, Apr 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Millions of individuals who recently entrusted personal, medical, and financial information to the federal government while enrolling in Obamacare via Healthcare.gov may find a recent trend reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) rather unsettling. The number of security breaches involving Personally Identifiable Information (PII) at federal agencies more than doubled in recent years, increasing from 10,481 in 2009 to 25,566 in 2013.
7:01 AM, Mar 10, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Less than a month after the exposure of a widespread vulnerability on government "open data" websites, another perhaps even more insidious opening for abuse of government websites has come to light.