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The US Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts have been suspended after being hacked by a group claiming to back Islamic State.
One message on Centcom’s Twitter feed said: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.”
It was signed by ISIS, another name for the Islamic State. Some internal military documents also appeared on the Centcom Twitter feed.
Centcom said it viewed the breach as “cyber-vandalism” and not serious.
In a statement, the military command said there was no operational impact and no classified information was posted.
“We are viewing this purely as a case of cyber-vandalism,” it said.
The hack happened as President Barack Obama was giving a speech on cyber-security.
Reflecting on major breaches like a recent hack of Sony Pictures, President Barack Obama said in his speech the US had been reminded of “enormous vulnerabilities for us as a nation and for our economy”.
Barack Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest said the US is looking into the Centcom hacking.
He said they were investigating the extent of the incident, and that there was a significant difference between a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account.
An unnamed Pentagon official told Reuters the hacking was an embarrassment but did not appear to be a security threat.
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The NYC premiere of The Interview movie, a comedy about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has been cancelled amid threats from hackers.
A spokesman for the cinema chain due to host the screening said it had been shelved.
Hackers targeting Sony Pictures had threatened to attack US cinemas showing the studio’s film.
They belong to the same group which has released emails and data stolen from Sony.
Calling themselves Guardians of Peace, the hackers mentioned the 9/11 attacks in a recent warning, claiming “the world will be full of fear”.
“Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time,” the hacker group wrote in a message on .
“If your house is nearby, you’d better leave,” they add.
“Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
A spokesman for Landmark, the cinema chain due to host the New York premiere, confirmed the showing had been cancelled but gave no reason, Reuters news agency reported.
Executives from Sony had previously said they would not object if cinemas chose not to show The Interview.
Carmike Cinemas, which operates 278 venues across the US, has cancelled planned screenings, according to several news outlets.
The company has not yet commented publicly on the reports.
Guardians of Peace have also released a new trove of Sony company data, calling it a “Christmas gift”.
A cache of company emails, social security numbers and salary details had already been released.
On December 16, two former Sony Pictures employees sued the California company for not providing adequate security to prevent the computer breach.
The studio earlier attempted to limit the damage by contacting some news outlets to block the publication of the emails.
North Korea has denied involvement in the attack, but has described it as a “righteous deed” that may have been carried out by its “supporters and sympathizers”.
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In an attempt to limit the damage caused by the hacking of its internal computer system last month, Sony Pictures’ legal team has reportedly contacted some news outlets.
The studio, its letter informed them, “does not consent to your possession… dissemination, publication… or making any use of the stolen information”.
Script details, salary data and private email correspondence have been leaked in the wake of the huge cyber attack.
A group calling itself Guardians of Peace has claimed responsibility.
It is believed that the attack was triggered by Sony’s new film The Interview, a comedy that features a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea has denied being involved in the attack, but has described it as a “righteous deed” that may have been carried out by its “supporters and sympathizers”.
Variety, the New York Times and the Hollywood Reporter are among the publications understood to have been contacted by Sony’s legal team.
A New York Times spokeswoman said its coverage would “take into account both the significance of the news and the questions of how the information emerged”.
Some of the emails released have contained embarrassing exchanges about some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, among them Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The producers of the new James Bond film Spectre have also confirmed that an early version of its script was stolen and “illegally made public by hackers”.
George Clooney is the latest movie star to have had his personal emails disseminated, revealing he was personally stung by the critical reaction to his recent film The Monuments Men.
The revelation that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid less than their male co-stars in American Hustle has also been widely reported.
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is among those to have criticized the media’s apparent complicity with the hackers, accusing it of being “morally treasonous”.
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North Korea has denied Sony Pictures hack attack in retaliation for The Interview movie depicting Kim Jong-un.
However, the attack itself has been praised as a “righteous deed”.
The attack crippled computers at Sony and led to upcoming films and workers’ personal data being leaked online.
North Korea said its “supporters and sympathizers” may have carried out the hack – but said it was not involved.
It has described The Interview as an “act of terrorism”.
The comedy, made by Sony Pictures, features James Franco and Seth Rogen as two reporters who are granted an audience with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The CIA then enlists the pair to assassinate the North Korean leader. The film is due to be released over Christmas.
An article on North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency, quoting the country’s top military body, said suggestions that Pyongyang was behind the attack were “wild rumor”.
However, it warned the US that “there are a great number of supporters and sympathizers” of North Korea “all over the world” who may have carried out the attack.
In the article, Sony Pictures was accused of “abetting a terrorist act” and “hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership” of North Korea by producing the movie.
Last week a North Korean diplomat had responded to questions over whether his country had conducted the attack by saying, “wait and see”.
Sony Pictures’ computer system went down last week and hackers then published a number of as-yet unreleased films on online download sites.
They also released salary and Social Security numbers for thousands of Sony employees – including celebrities. The film about North Korea does not appear to have been leaked.
On Monday, Sony Pictures said it had restored a number of important services that had to be shut down after the attack.
It said it was working closely with law enforcement officials to investigate the matter but made no mention of North Korea.
The FBI has confirmed that it is investigating. It has also warned other US businesses that unknown hackers have launched a cyber-attack with destructive malware.
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Hack attacks hitting online services and exchanges dealing in Bitcoins led to a drop in the value of the virtual currency.
Trading on the MTGox exchange, which handles most trades in Bitcoins, was sluggish yesterday as the site fought off an attack.
The attack helped to force a swift fall in the price of Bitcoins.
In addition, the Instawallet website – where people store Bitcoins – is offline indefinitely after an attack.
Hack attacks hitting online services and exchanges dealing in Bitcoins led to a drop in the value of the virtual currency
The value of Bitcoins surged to a new high this week with each one worth about $142. Barely a week ago, each virtual coin was worth only $90.
But Bitcoins dropped sharply in value as the MTGox exchange came under a sustained attack by hackers. The vast majority of trade in Bitcoins takes place via the site.
In a tweet on its Twitter feed, MTGox said it was fighting off a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which involves a site being bombarded with huge amounts of data. The attack was one of several against the site this week.
The attacks, coupled with a spike in trading volumes, combined to cause delays in trades being confirmed and led the value of Bitcoins to drop sharply to about $120.
The attacks could be the work of malicious hackers who were trying to “game” the exchange and manipulate the value of Bitcoins so they could cash in, MTGox said in an interview with ComputerWorld. Attackers are thought to be working to a cycle in which they sell Bitcoins when values are high, then mount an attack that forces prices to crash, buy up the cheaper coins and then let the value climb again.
MTGox said it did not know when or if the attacks would cease but said Bitcoin owners should not panic and sell off as values fluctuated. A spokesman for the exchange added that it was in the middle of rebuilding its trading technology but the new system, which would do a better job of handling the high volume of trades, would not be ready until the end of this year.
In a separate development, Instawallet has shut down “indefinitely” after hackers “fraudulently accessed” its core database. In a statement posted on the Instawallet site it said it planned to open a claim process shortly so people could reclaim their Bitcoin balance.