Great Britain conducted a “major offensive” cyberattack against Islamic State, hindering the terrorist group’s ability to coordinate attacks and suppressing its propaganda, an official said.
Jeremy Fleming, one of Britain’s intelligence chiefs, said the Government Communications Headquarters worked with the Ministry of Defense to make “a significant contribution to coalition efforts” against Islamic State, making it “almost impossible” for the group to spread its message.
“This is the first time the U.K. has systematically and persistently degraded an adversary’s online efforts as part of a wider military campaign,” Fleming said during a cybersecurity conference. “Did it work? I think it did.”
Fleming said much of the cyberoperation disrupted the group’s online activities and destroyed equipment and networks. Also during the speech, Fleming said Russia was “not playing to the same rules” regarding the country’s possible use of a nerve agent against former double agent Sergei Skripal. He added that Russia widely uses its cybercapabilities, “blurring the boundaries between criminal and state activity” and deploying “industrial-scale disinformation to sway public opinion.”
Fleming said other goals of the Government Communications Headquarters include tracking down people who distribute child sex abuse images on the web.
By Susan McFarland