Wed, Jun 10, 2015 - Page 1 News List

US Army briefly shutters site after alleged hacking


US soldiers carry US and South Korean flags during a combined division activation ceremony at a US military base just north of Seoul on Wednesday last week.

Photo: AFP

The US Army’s official Web site was hacked on Monday with messages denouncing Washington’s training of rebel fighters inside Syria, but no information was stolen, officials said.

As a result of the hacking, the army decided to temporarily shut down the Web site, which is designed for the general public with basic information and does not contain classified or personal data, officials said.

“Your commanders admit they are training the people they have sent you to die fighting,” one of the messages said.

The so-called “Syrian Electronic Army” took credit for the purported hack and posted the messages on its Twitter account. The group has been blamed for hacks and denial-of-service attacks that have condemned rebel forces fighting the Syrian regime.

“Today an element of the service provider’s content was compromised,” army spokesman Brigadier General Malcolm Frost said in a statement.

“After this came to our attention, the army took appropriate preventive measures to ensure there was no breach of army data by taking down the Web site temporarily,” Frost said.

The pro-Syrian government group has been linked to the hacking of numerous news media sites in recent years, including the Twitter account of the photography service of Agency France-Presse.

It created confusion in the stock market briefly in 2013 when it put out a fake tweet falsely claiming the White House was under attack.

Officials said it was possibly the first time a US military Web site had been penetrated, as previous hacking had targeted Twitter accounts.

The social media accounts of US Central Command, which oversees US forces in the Middle East, were hacked in January with messages promoting the Islamic State group. Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts were temporarily suspended as a result, but no sensitive data was compromised, officials said.

US officials at the time called the assault on the CENTCOM Twitter “cybervandalism.”

The hack on the army’s Web site came days after a cyberassault might have compromised the personal information of 4 million US government workers.

US officials and lawmakers said they suspected China was behind that breach.

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