ISU Police Department Facebook Page Hacked

The Iowa State University Police Department Facebook page fell victim to a cyber attack Saturday morning. Their page, followed and liked by more than 10,000 people, had its cover photo changed to the Syrian resistance flag, donning a green stripe as opposed to the traditional red one, and posted in Arabic, a statement roughly translated to:

“Thank God the Lord of the worlds was the breach by unwanted forces Syrian government response to the failure of (America) towards the Syrians and the next greatest Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest).”


isu pd flag


ISU Police Arabic

Some Facebook users responded to the post, with the hacked account responding back in Arabic on several occasions.

The campus police took to Twitter to respond to the incident, stating they were indeed hacked and that followers should disregard these and future posts until further notice.

isu pd tweet

ISU Police respond to hacking on Twitter.

Iowa State has a notable amount of Arab and Arabic-speaking students, with nearly 200 international students from countries where Arabic is the official or co-official language, as of Fall 2016.

The Arab Student Association at Iowa State took to Facebook to respond by saying, “The ASA condemns the hacking of the ISU Police Facebook page. This act does not represent the values of Syrians, Arabs, nor Muslims.”


The Arabic used in the post, however, has perplexed many Arabic speakers on the social media site, with grammatical and structural errors throughout.

“These aren’t mistakes Google translate would make, nor would a native speaker make,” says Dr. Ghinwa Alameen, Syrian-born lecturer of Arabic and faculty adviser of the ASA at Iowa State. “This Arabic is not authentic.

“This is a very unfortunate incident because ISU Police is one of the most vital services in our community and they use Facebook to inform the public of important safety alerts,” she says. “Disrupting a critical communication resource at ISU has no relevance to resolving the conflict in Syria.”

The attack comes amid a large-scale and unprecedented wave of malicious cyber attacks and instances of ransomware, which have jarred the international community in the last 48 hours, affecting some of the world’s largest companies and agencies across 100 countries. 

The Iowa State Police Department has yet to release a statement on the hacking. There is no clear motive for the incident.

Follow @ISUtv on Twitter for more updates.



About ISUtv Staff

ISUtv is produced by students with an interest in broadcast journalism at Iowa State University