Cyber Round Up: US Central Command Hacked; Anonymous vs. Islamic Terrorists; NSA Director Pushes for Stronger Cyber Responses; US Denies ‘Hack Back’ Against North Korea

  • US Central Command Hacked by Islamic Hackers: US Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts have been hacked by a group claiming to back Islamic State, reports BBC News.  While an unnamed Pentagon official said the hacking was an embarrassment but did not appear to be a security threat, one message by the hackers read: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.” Read the full report here.
  • Anonymous Threatens Islamic Terrorists: USA Today reports that one of the hacktivist groups using the name Anonymous has vowed to attack Islamic terrorist websites and social media accounts in revenge for the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris.  According to the report, the group released a video in French on YouTube with the following message: “We are declaring war against you, the terrorists” and vowed to close accounts on social networks linked to terrorists. A statement allegedly written by a member of the Hacktivist report warns “. . . we can’t fall down, it is our responsibility to react . . . expect a massive reaction from us.”
    • Islamic Hackers Respond: According to, Islamic hackers led by a well-known pro-Palestinian group called AnonGhost  have responded by launching a digital jihad against France and Anonymous.  In addition to a number of hacks on banks and websites, the group stated: “Your freedom of speech [meant that] it was only a matter of time before someone was going to display their freedom of action against you . . .How long can you poke a lion before… he strikes back?” the hackers continued.” Read the full report here.
  • NSA – More Offensive Tactics for Cyber-security? The director of the National Security Agency, Mike Rogers, claims hackers have come to believe there is ‘little price to pay’ for stealing data, reports The Wall Street Journal.  Yet with the current issues with attribution, should the government more forcefully respond to foreign countries that engage in cyberattacks? Mike Rogers thinks so.  For the full article, click here.
  • US Did Not ‘Hack Back’ Against North Korea: According to a report by TopTechNews, contingents have debated privately whether to acknowledge that the U.S. played no role in North Korea’s disruptions or remain silent to avoid detailed conversations about U.S. capabilities and policy on offensive cyber operations, which are considered highly classified.  However, the report goes on to state that a recent disclosure denying U.S. involvement was intended to convey how seriously the administration considers offensive cyberattacks.  Read the full report here.
  • Other Cyber News:
    • UK Power Grid Hacked: Bloomberg reports that the U.K. power grid is under attack from Hackers every minute.  According to the report, Britain’s electricity transmission network is constantly subject to cyber-attack and threats to infrastructure will remain high over the next few months.
    • Swiss Bank Threatened by Hackers: Reuters reports that hackers threatened to reveal confidential client information of a Swiss bank if its demands for payment were not met.  According to the report, the hacker’s tactics “play into fears of tax dodgers and cheats using hidden Swiss accounts that their identity could be exposed.”
    • Snowden on NSA’s Offensive Cyber Policy: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden claims the spy agency spends more taxpayer money launching cyber attacks than it does protecting America from the intrusion, AOL reports. This disclosure came out during an interview for PBS’NOVA which will be released in the near future. Read more about Snowden’s interview here.
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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography


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