Hacktivists supporting the Islamic State (IS) successfully defaced the US Central Command's Twitter and YouTube feeds, leading to concerns about the US government's cyber security policies.
The Central Command Twitter account was defaced on Monday night when the hacktivists posted a message reading:
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the CyberCaliphate continues its CyberJihad."
Following the tweet a series of messages supporting IS, some of which purported to contain internal classified documents, were published before the Central Command accounts were taken offline.
Central Command's Twitter feed has since gone back online with a tweet describing the incident as an act of "cyber vandalism".
It is unclear how the hacktivists managed to breach the accounts and at the time of publishing US Central Command had not responded to V3's request for comment.
Senior security analyst at Tripwire Ken Westin said the attack is an escalation on the CyberCaliphate group's usual activities and should act as a warning to other military and government departments using social media.
"The CyberCaliphate to date has been adept in utilising website defacements as a means of propaganda in support of IS. The compromise of both the Central Command Twitter and YouTube accounts is an escalation that should cause concern for the US government," he said.
"The fact they were able to compromise the accounts should force the government to re-evaluate their security policies when it comes to social media.
"Google and Twitter both provide two-factor authentication. It would be interesting to know if this was deployed on these accounts, if not it would show a serious lapse in security."
Westin added that it is unlikely the hacktivists managed to gain access to Central Command's internal systems.
"Looking at the data that was posted on the Twitter account, much of it appears to be data that was posted publicly elsewhere, so the claims that the CyberCaliphate has compromised military and government devices may not be true," he said.
Chief scientist at Ntrepid Lance Cottrell echoed Westin's views: "Hacking is a constant, and there were lots of valuable documents at risk. But in this case, it looks like nothing significant was taken. The attackers are winning because of the attention they are getting rather than because of any actual damage from the attack."
The attack came just after US President Barack Obama announced plans to bolster the nation's cyber defences. The reforms include plans to increase threat data sharing between the public and private sectors in the US.
The initiative sounds similar to the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership launched in the UK in 2013.
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