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Key U.S. military command’s Twitter, YouTube sites hacked

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The same hackers who hit the Albuquerque Journal’s Twitter account earlier this month seized control of the Twitter and YouTube sites of the military’s U.S. Central Command on Monday.

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

The intrusion carried the same logo, CyberCaliphate name and photo that appeared on the Albuquerque Journal’s website in late December when one of its stories was hacked. And earlier this month, it appeared that the same hackers breached the Journal’s Twitter account and took over the website and Twitter feed of WBOC-TV in Salisbury, Md. The Journal and the TV station use the same email and content management systems.

The brief incursions never reached Journal servers, according to an information technology official with the newspaper.

The Central Command 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 labeled “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 center focused on national security. The slides appeared to depict what it called “scenarios” for conflict with North Korea and China.

“This is little more than a prank or vandalism. It’s inconvenient and it’s an annoyance. But that’s all it is,” said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. “It in no way compromises our operations in any way, shape or form.”

Warren said Pentagon officials are in contact with Twitter and YouTube to ensure that military passwords and other security for such public websites are adequate.

The tweets came shortly after U.S. Central Command posted its own tweets about the U.S. 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 FBI has acknowledged it is looking into the Albuquerque case, and WBOC said it was also in contact with the agency.