Jan 12, 2015 · 1 minute

Someone claiming to be affiliated with the so-called Islamic State has taken over what purports to be the official Twitter account for the United States Central Command, which is responsible for the military's activities in the Middle East. The attacker used the account to share personal information about several generals in addition to threats against US soldiers' families.

The tweets are still available at the time of writing, but Twitter appears to have replaced the profile images uploaded by the hacker with the default "egg" avatar it assigns to new profiles. It's not clear if tweets claiming to have posted information from the Pentagon, or alleging that IS has access to computer networks in military bases, are at all accurate.

Unlike other government Twitter accounts, including those for the FBI, the CIA, the Army, and other organizations, CENTCOM's was not verified by Twitter. The account is linked to on CENTCOM's website, however, and its tweets used to be uploaded directly to a section of the site. (That feature now lies dormant, presumably because of the hack.)

It's also strange that the hacker refers to the extremist organization with which he claims to be affiliated as ISIS -- short for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which is where the organization originated -- instead of the Islamic State, the group's newer moniker. That's either a mistake or, perhaps, a slight clue that the attacker isn't actually with IS.

CENTCOM's Twitter feed remains available at the time of writing, and it has not yet acknowledged the hack or deleted the offending tweets from its timeline.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]