Fort Bragg garrison officials say their verified Twitter account was hacked after posts weighing in on the issue of female pubic hair and lustful comments about a nude woman’s picture appeared on the social media website.
The XVIII Airborne Corps spokesman, Col. Joe Buccino, said the garrison has “ruled out any malicious intent” by its public affairs officials. He added that they still don’t have much information about how the incident occurred.
“These accounts get hacked. That is the danger of a digital presence," Buccino said. “We don’t know how the account was [hacked]. It’s possible someone was able to guess the password."
Buccino said that the Twitter password was likely not as secure as it could have been, but did not elaborate on what the password was.
“We reacted quickly and removed the tweets. We’ve changed the password and temporarily taken the account offline,” he added.
None of the other Fort Bragg social media accounts, or any classified information, was compromised, according to Buccino. Classified information in the military is kept on a separate system of interconnected computer networks, called SIPRNet.
In a string of tweets, the garrison account, under the Twitter handle @FtBraggNC, responded Wednesday afternoon to an OnlyFans user with the Twitter handle @quinnfinite10, who posts nude content.
OnlyFans is a British content subscription service based in London and frequently used by those working in the sex industry.
The garrison account commented approvingly on one photo and appeared to chide those who disliked female pubic hair in another. The now-deleted tweets were saved by screenshots.
Fort Bragg is the headquarters of Army Special Operations Command, as well as the 82nd Airborne Division, a unit that regularly fills a rapid response role for the Defense Department.
If this incident did actually involve an unauthorized user accessing the Twitter feed, it would not be the first time for a military social media account.
In 2015, the Twitter account and YouTube channel for U.S. Central Command was compromised and began sharing Islamic State propaganda.
Pentagon officials called the incident a case of “cybervandalism," but said that no classified information or military networks were compromised in that case either.
Aside from simply guessing a password, social engineering is a common way in which sensitive information can be obtained by hackers.
Phising emails are an example of social engineering. They involve directing users to input passwords or other data into fake websites that imitate authentic ones an unwitting victim may be accustomed to using.
Kyle Rempfer was an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.