US Army website hacked as Obama demands cyber law

Reuters / Ina Fassbender
A hacker group backing the Syrian government claimed responsibility for hacking the official website of the US Army, just hours after President Obama called for new cybersecurity laws at the G-7 summit in Germany. was still down Monday afternoon. Loading a cached version of the site resulted in pop-ups proclaiming the site was “Hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army,” and messages such as “Stop training the terrorists!” and “Your government is corrupt don't listen to it!” reported the National Journal.

Avoid using for the time being. The web site is currently down, reportedly from being hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army.Posted by Fort Bragg, N.C. on Monday, 8 June 2015

Hackers calling themselves the Syrian Electronic Army swiftly took responsibility for the attack, posting images on their Twitter account.

Another image indicated the hackers used the Limelight content management system’s control panel to take control of the site.

US Army officials said the website was taken down temporarily, after its home page was compromised. “The Army took appropriate preventative measure to ensure there was no breach of Army data,” Army spokesman Brigadier General Malcolm Frost said in a statement.

READ MORE: US govt agency hacked, 4 million federal workers affected

Monday’s attack may have been the first breach of a website directly operated by the US military. In January, a group calling itself the “Cyber Caliphate” hijacked the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), posting links to documents they claimed to be confidential files pilfered from US military computers.

CENTCOM said its operational military networks “were not compromised and there was no operational impact,” and denied any leaks of classified information, adding that it considered the hack “purely as a case of cybervandalism.”

Last week, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) admitted to a major cyber-attack in April, compromising the personal information of four million federal employees. While US officials blamed China for the hack, Beijing dismissed the claims as “not responsible” and “counterproductive.”

Addressing the OPM hack at the G-7 summit in Germany, US President Barack Obama urged Congress to move forward on cybersecurity laws that the White House has been pushing for.

Both state and non-state actors are sending everything they've got at trying to breach these systems," Obama said, adding that state actors were “probing for intelligence or, in some cases, trying to bring down systems in pursuit of their various foreign policy objectives.

In either case, we’re going to have to be much more aggressive, much more attentive than we have been,” Obama added.

US agents used a computer virus called Stuxnet to tamper with the nuclear programs in Iran during 2009 and 2010. Another Stuxnet attack was launched against North Korea, US officials recently admitted, but without success.