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UK targeted Isis with cyber warfare

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/alexskopje)

A British intelligence chief has revealed that the UK carried out its first major cyber-attack in 2017 to disrupt the communication and propaganda infrastructure of Islamic State. 

The director of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming told attendees at a cybersecurity conference in Manchester that his agency had worked with the Ministry of Defence to aid in the coalition efforts against the al-Qaeda splinter group.  As a result of its ongoing cyberattacks, the agency has made it “almost impossible” for the extremist group to spread its message online. 

Fleming offered more details on the operation at the conference, saying: 

“This is the first time the UK has systematically and persistently degraded and adversary's online efforts as part of a wider military campaign.  Did it work?  I think it did.” 

In terms of future operations, Fleming suggested that they might be used to deny service, disrupt certain activities online, deter an individual or a group or could even be used to destroy networks and equipment. 

The GCHQ's cyber-attack against ISIS sets a precedent for the organisation and we will likely see similar tactics deployed in the future due to how effective they can be at disrupting an enemy's operations without putting troops in danger. 

Image Credit: Alexskopje / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.