The Islamic State made a direct threat to US military personnel after sentencing 100 servicemen whose personal details have been posted online to death. The US defense department reportedly launched an immediate investigation in order to determine how the militants obtained the information on the American soldiers.
ISIS posted extensive details about 100 people presumably involved in defeating the terrorists in places such as Yemen, Iraq and Syria on an affiliate website. Besides names and photographs, the post included the purported addresses the servicemen currently live at.
The Islamist group boasted that the data was obtained by hacking into US public servers and databases. However, the preliminary Pentagon investigation concluded that there had been no trace of hacking. An inside source believes the information was public domain, as it could easily be obtained after a search on social media platforms and residential addresses sites.
The Islamic State branch who claimed responsibility for getting the information, styled the Islamic State Hacking Division, argued all of the people named took part in several military operations conducted by the US and its allies. “With the huge amount of data we have from various different servers and databases, we have decided to leak 100 addresses so that our brothers in America can deal with you,” the group stated in its online post.
But Defense Department officials think most of the names were extracted from the media, as well as from the Pentagon’s reports on its campaign against ISIS.
The data posted on the ISIS web site is also partially false, the Pentagon says, as it names personnel members who never took part in the campaign against the Islamic State. Among those, some B-52 crew members stationed at military camps in Louisiana and North Dakota, bombers that have never been used in operations in Syria or Iraq.
Pentagon officials have expressed their frustration at how ISIS is effectively using the internet to threaten the safety of US soldiers even at home. Unlike other US agencies, the military allows its staff to spend time on social media. The army also brings reporters along its personnel on the field, and gives them permission to use real names and information in their reports.
According to BBC, people on the list have been contacted by the investigators. An US Navy spokesman also told that their personnel had been advised to readjust the privacy settings of their online profiles to prevent a similar event from happening in the future.
In the meantime, the Pentagon and the FBI are on currently on alert to protect its servicemen and keep the American public informed. After all, according to the ISIS post, the homeland is in danger: “Now we have made it easy for you by giving you addresses, all you need to do is take the final step, so what are you waiting for?”