When ISIS (Islamic State in Iran and Syria) issued a direct threat to 100 American military families last month, it maximized the terror factor by claiming it had hacked into “several military servers, databases and emails” to obtain their personal information. It attributed the hacks to “The Islamic State Hacking Division,” but in fact, ISIS was just engaging in more of its savvy manipulation of social media to intimidate and terrify the world.

In fact, it is unclear whether ISIS even has a “hacking division,” but one thing is certain – the identifying information it included in its “hit list” was obtained from public a Department of Defense (DOD) website and most of the names had been featured in articles on the site that appeared between 2007 and 2015.

Although the DOD instructs troops to avoid sharing personal information such as addresses on social media sites for security reasons, the access by ISIS apparently came in part from the Department itself. Supplemental information was obtained via simple Google searches.

At least 60 of the 100 names were from the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, developed by the Department of Defense to reassure the public of military preparedness following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. The site also provides a way for family and friends of troops to send holiday greetings and messages.

The warning from ISIS purported to give instructions to sleeper cells in the U.S. that seemed to point to an imminent attack on the families of servicemen.

“We have decided to leak 100 addresses so that our brothers residing in America can deal with you. 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?”

Iraq war veteran Sean Rowe has established “Veterans Against ISIS,” and has gone on the record saying the government is offering little support to the families on the ISIS “hit list.” The group is urging Americans to contact their representatives in Washington to demand that the terror group’s threats be taken seriously and that the families be provided protection against ISIS.

 

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