Islamist hackers hijack Pentagon websites

Soldiers stand guard outside a synagogue in Paris
Soldiers stand guard outside a synagogue in Paris
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HACKERS claiming to be working on behalf of “Islamic State” militants briefly seized control of the Twitter and YouTube sites of the military’s US Central Command.

The Pentagon swiftly suspended the sites and said no classified material was breached.

It came as thousands of troops were deployed onto the streets of France yesterday to protect sensitive sites and Jewish schools, as the hunt for accomplices to the attacks in Paris which left 17 people dead continued.

The Twitter site was filled with threats that said “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.”

Other postings appeared to list names, phone numbers and personal email addresses of military personnel as well as PowerPoint slides and maps.

Most of the material was labelled “FOUO,” which means “For Official Use Only,” but none of it appeared to be classified or sensitive information, suggesting the hackers did not breach classified material.

One of the documents appeared to be slides developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, a federally funded research and development centre focused on national security. The slides appeared to depict what it called “scenarios” for conflict with North Korea and China.

The tweets came shortly after US Central Command posted its own tweets about the US and partner nations continuing to attack “Islamic State” terrorists in Iraq and Syria and one repeating a report that said France will deploy an aircraft carrier to the fight.

The hackers titled the Twitter page CyberCaliphate with an underline that said “i love you isis.” The broader message referred to air strikes against “Islamic State” fighters in Iraq and Syria and threatened: “We broke into your networks and personal devices and know everything about you. You’ll see no mercy infidels. ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base.”

Meanwhile, France’s defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said the country was mobilising 10,000 troops to protect the population, with the deployment focused on the most sensitive locations, including 4,700 at its 717 Jewish schools. French police believe as many as six terror-cell members may still be at large, one of whom has been spotted driving a car registered to the widow of one of the dead attackers.

Two police officials told The Associated Press on Monday that authorities are searching the Paris area for the Mini Cooper registered to the widow, Hayat Boumeddiene.

Turkish officials say she is in Syria after travelling before the attacks.

David Cameron has been briefed by intelligence and security chiefs on the current threat to the UK in the wake of events in France.

A Downing Street spokesman said it had been agreed that future counter-terrorism exercises – carried out on a regular basis by the police and security services – should seek to learn from what happened in Paris.

Meanwhile, the White House has conceded that it made an error in not sending a high-level official to Sunday’s march in Paris. The Obama administration was represented by the American ambassador to France.