Director of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming has warned that the UK can counter Russian cyber capabilities in the same way it fought Islamic State online capabilities.

Regarding experience gained from a the first major attack against Islamic State, Fleming said:

“But cyber is only one part of the wider international response. This is the first time the UK has systematically and persistently degraded an adversary’s online efforts as part of a wider military campaign.”

Regarding Russia, he said:

“Alongside these new dangers, we must not and have not forgotten the old foes. For decades, we have collected intelligence on Russian state capabilities, on their intent and on their posture. And for over twenty years, we’ve monitored and countered the growing cyber threat they pose to the UK and our allies.

This has never gone away. But nevertheless, recent events are particularly stark and shocking. You’ve heard it said, and I’ll repeat, the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, was the first time a nerve agent has been deployed in Europe since the Second World War. That’s sobering. It demonstrates how reckless Russia is prepared to be. How little the Kremlin cares for the international rules-based order. How comfortable they are at putting ordinary lives at risk. The robust response from the UK and from the international community shows the Kremlin that illegal acts have consequences. And it looks like our expertise on Russia will be in increasing demand. We’ll continue to expose Russia’s unacceptable cyber behaviour, so they’re held accountable for what they do, and to help Government and industry protect themselves.

The UK will continue to respond to malicious cyber activity in conjunction with international partners such as the United States. We will attribute where we can.
And whilst we face an emboldened Russia, we also see the tectonic plates in the Middle East moving. We see Iran and its proxies meddling throughout the region. The use of Chemical Weapons in Syria. We’re watching the dispersal of Daesh fighters. Serious Crime Gangs smuggling people from Eastern Europe and Northern Africa. I know I’ve painted a dark picture with that summary. Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. The last 50 years has seen huge progress in the eradication of disease, the spread of knowledge and freedom, and the prevention of conflict. The last decade has witnessed technology transform the way we live. There’s much, much more to come.

Even so, I think we can all appreciate the current threat landscape is both difficult and fast moving.”

Read the full transcript here.

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Will someone please tell all the worlds leaders, movers and shakers to put their willies away for a few weeks and start allowing stuff to come out of their mouths (or finger tips, looking at you Donald) that has at least visited a functonal frontal lobe.

Evan P

I’ve got to say Trump has actually done a good job in dealing with this. He’s made the situation appear calmer than it did a couple of nights ago.


Cyber is one of the few parts of UK defence which has been austerity-proof

Daniele Mandelli

Good to hear GCHQ has the capability. It was hinted at by ministers years back but never officially admitted til now.

Lee H

The game of cards Is best played by keeping your hand close to your chest.
The bigger players have gambled hard and are now beginning to show their hands, revealing their strategies and exposing their flaws.
The quiet player in the corner, who invented the game but whom every other player forgot about has come back to the table and shown, every now and again, it can play an ace.
The capability is always there, waiting and watching – seeing who does what and when you least expect it reminding everyone we are still in the game.

Daniele Mandelli

Nicely put Lee, one of the Aces the UK has is its intelligence / cyber capability.

And as founding members of 5 Eyes via the UKUSA agreement I really don’t think other players forgot the power and capability of GCHQ.

Long may it continue!


I hope this is the sort of off-topic spamming across multiple article’s comments section that will be tolerated here…

I just came across this by accident so, in case others haven’t seen this, the first of the BBC’s 3-part documentary on the new HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier is airing tonight at 20:00 (8:00pm) UK time on BBC Two. Further details here…