Both the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the United States military command were recently suspended for hours following a hack by a group claiming to back Islamic State. A message on Centcom’s Twitter feed said: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.” The message was signed by ISIS, another name for the Islamic State. There were some internal military documents that also appeared on the Centcom Twitter feed.

Regarding the hack, Centcom said it was “cyber-vandalism” and not a serious data breach. In a statement, Centcom said that there was no operational impact and that no classified information was posted. “We are viewing this purely as a case of cyber-vandalism.”  After the attack on Monday theTwitter feed became visible again, although it was not active.

Most embarrassingly, the hack occurred as President Barack Obama was giving a speech on cyber-security. In the speech the President reflected on major breaches such as the recent hack of Sony Pictures.  Mr Obama said in his speech the US had been reminded of “enormous vulnerabilities for us as a nation and for our economy”. The President’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, said the US is looking into the Centcom hacking. He said there would be investigations into the extent of the incident. It was also mentioned that there was a significant difference between a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account.

The material that was posted on the site represents an attempt to publicise “secrets”. It appears , upon closer inspection, that most of the information not secret though; The postal address at the Pentagon of the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

There were also a number of maps and diagrams that were posted by the hackers. It appeared that two slides were from a presentation at the Lincoln Laboratory; A government funded think-tank at MIT. The slides showed maritime defences on the Chinese coast, but not in great detail. There were also rudimentary maps of North Korea that showed population centres, nuclear installations and missile sites. A person can find maps showing the same types of media on the websites of many US think-tanks.

Following the initial incident, there were subsequent posts on the Centcom Twitter account that said: “Pentagon Networks Hacked! China Scenarios” and “Pentagon Networks Hacked. Korean Scenarios.” There were some documents that were posted which appeared to list names and phone numbers of members of the military.

[Image via bizweek]