Defense

Graham: Social media hack a ‘propaganda’ win

A top senator called Monday’s hack of a military Twitter account and YouTube page a “propaganda” victory for the hackers but said it did not compromise U.S. national security.

“It’s a propaganda ploy here and a propaganda advancement for these guys,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Armed Services panel, told reporters.

{mosads}Graham called the incident “embarrassing.”

“I don’t think this compromises our national security call but it should be a wake up call to all of us,” he added.

U.S. Central Command’s social media accounts were hacked by perpetrators who claimed to be acting on behalf of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The attack lasted around 30 minutes and saw several messages in support of ISIS appear on the Central Command Twitter feed, along with threats against U.S. forces and their families.

The unidentified hackers also posted official documents, including contact information for current and retired service members, and plans for engagement with China and North Korea. 

“It’s not surprising, they’ve got this capability,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters on Monday.

“If the North Koreans can do it, lots of people can do it,” he said in reference to the hack of Sony Pictures, which the administration has blamed on Pyongyang.

“It heightens the importance of us doing some legislation on cyber and we’ll be having various meetings and we will be working on cyber security,” added McCain, who has said that cyber warfare will be a main focus of his committee’s Emerging Threats and Capabilities subpanel.

Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.), the top Democrat on Armed Services, also urged caution, following the attacks and said more needed to be learned.

“You got to go through and analyze and do all the forensics and everything else to figure out exactly what went on,” he told reporters.

“One of the lessons we’ve learned about these things, it’s not all together obvious, when these things happen, where they’re coming from,” he said of the attacks. 

Central Command has already announced that the FBI will look into the hack.

The breach itself “seems to be in the unsecure side, the Twitter side,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said. “There’s some personal information, but this is not dissimilar to when the military asked troops not to put personal information up on Twitter because it could be used against them.”

Tags Jack Reed John McCain Lindsey Graham Richard Burr

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