US Central Command Twitter Hacked by someone in Maryland?
The Twitter account for US Central Command was apparently compromised by pro-Isis hackersScreengrab

A member of Anonymous claims that the computers used to hack the Twitter and YouTube accounts of Centcom were located in Maryland.

On Monday 12 January, just as President Barack Obama was outlining new cyber-security measures, the Twitter account and YouTube channel of US Central Command (Centcom) was compromised for 40 minutes and defaced with pro-Islamic State (IS) messages and threats against US soldiers.

The people behind the attack released a number of documents it claimed to have stolen using compromised credentials, but the vast majority of these were already available online. However Centcom has confirmed that some of the leaked information was not previously publicly available.

The finger of blame was initially pointed at the hacking wing of IS, known as CyberCaliphate, however one Anonymous member has claimed that the attack came from computers based in Maryland.

Twitter account @TheAnonMessage claimed the attacks came from inside the United States shortly after the accounts were compromised.

The account also listed 11 IP addresses it claims were used in the attack.

The IP address of a computer alone is not an accurate indication of where an attack is coming from, as the attack can easily use a proxy server or VPN to spoof its origin.

Conspiracy theories

However @TheAnonMessage says it has scanned for proxies and is convinced the computers used to attack the Centcom accounts were based in Maryland.

This has not been confirmed by the FBI who has announced it is investigating the attack.

The identity of the attacker remains unknown at the moment, though if Anonymous is right and the hacker's IP addresses are easily discoverable, it suggests that it should not be too long before the culprit is found.

While some have suggested that the person behind the attack is simply a troll, and looking for attention, other in the tinfoil-hat brigade have pointed out that the National Security Agency (NSA) is also located in Maryland, suggesting some link to the attack.

However, if we have learned anything about the NSA in the last couple of years, it is that they have access to highly sophisticated technology and are unlikely to reveal their location so easily.

Ferguson

It should also be noted that the Anonymous account in question has previously had a questionable track record of correctly identifying individuals.

During the fallout from the Ferguson riots in the wake of the Mike Brown shooting, @TheAnonMessage incorrectly identified the police officer responsible for shooting Brown when the police had refused to name him.

The account claimed subsequently that releasing a false name was all part of an elaborate plan by Anonymous to force the police to release the real identity of the police officer.