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Cyber Wars: ISIS Sympathizers Hacking Twitter Accounts of American Companies

Cyber Wars: ISIS Sympathizers Hacking Twitter Accounts of American Companies

by Clay Michael GillespieFebruary 18, 2015

Newsweek, the International Business Times and even the U.S. Central Command – all victims of hacked Twitter accounts by ISIS sympathizers. Is this a new strategy to grab the megaphone from those with the attention of thousands and yell as loud as possible?

The official Newsweek account was hacked yesterday at 10:45 a.m. Eastern time. The hackers, claiming to be “Cyber Caliphate,” changed the official profile picture and banner to those often seen with ISIS members. In addition, the hackers went on a pro-ISIS rampage to Newsweek’s 2.5 million followers.

In a picture, the ISIS sympathizer said the following:

While the U.S. and its satellites are killing our brothers in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, we are destroying your national cybersecurity system from inside.

They continued, claiming access to internal documents from inside the Pentagon. They failed to post any proof of such access or documents

The Islamic State is already here. CyberCaliphate got into your PCs. We know everything about you and your relatives and we’re much closer than you can imagine.

Hacking a Twitter account is no major feat, but hacking a website might be considered a plausible threat. Sharing a parent company with the International Business Times, Newsweek said that the official IBT news website was also hacked by the same person or group. How strong Cyber Caliphate’s ties to the organized, centralized factions of ISIS in the Middle East and Northern Africa are unclear.

Also Read: ISIS and Boko Haram Funded by Hackers in South Africa, Claims Financial Investigator

Is There an ISIS Cyber War Waiting to be Waged?

ISISTwitter is no stranger to hackings. There’s an alarming rate of companies and celebrities that fall victim almost weekly. From Nazi propaganda flying high on Chipotle’s Twitter to naked pictures of Taylor Swift being ransomed after her account was hacked, there’s a serious problem in cyber security.

Prior to Newsweek and the International Business Times hacking, the U.S. Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts were both hacked by ISIS sympathizers. Although it does not seem to be the same group, phone numbers of top military officers were posted on the news feed for all to see.

But is there a cyber war on the horizon? It sure seems that way, but not just from ISIS. Smaller hacking groups from China and Russia are also taking swings at American companies.

In December, Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked by who was thought to be North Korean hackers; however, one security firm claims they’ve traced the hacking to Russia instead. Prior to that, Forbes was hacked, and two security firms have reason to believe the malware code used was written by Chinese cyber espionage hackers.

Of course, none of these hackings are government-sponsored, so any official war is thrown to the wind. The internet is making the world into a much smaller place though, increasing the risks all around. Personal credentials are a starting point for higher security, and it’s the responsibility of everyone to make sure their usernames and passwords are as secure as possible.

Images from Shutterstock and Wikipedia.

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