Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ, announced that Britain carried out its first major cyber-attack in 2017 with the target being Islamic State.

The attack was reportedly successful in disrupting Islamic State’s communications and propaganda infrastructure Fleming told a cybersecurity conference in Manchester.

“For GCHQ, this expansion of the terror threat means more investment in our people and our capabilities. Closer working with other CT partners here and overseas and greater sharing of our information to improve the threat radar. But it’s also brought a sharper focus on fighting Daesh online.

For well over a decade, starting in the conflict in Afghanistan, GCHQ has pioneered the development and use of offensive cyber techniques. And by that I mean taking action online that has direct real world impact.

In recent years, we’ve worked closely with the Ministry of Defence and key allies to grow these capabilities at pace.

Much of this is too sensitive to talk about, but I can tell you that GCHQ, in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, has conducted a major offensive cyber campaign against Daesh. These operations have made a significant contribution to coalition efforts to suppress Daesh propaganda, hindered their ability to coordinate attacks, and protected coalition forces on the battlefield. 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.

Did it work? I think it did.

The outcomes of these operations are wide ranging. We may look to deny service, disrupt a specific on-line activity, deter an individual or a group, or perhaps even destroy equipment and networks. In 2017 there were times when Daesh found it almost impossible to spread their hate online, to use their normal channels to spread their rhetoric, or trust their publications. Of course, the job is never done – they will.”

Read the full transcript here.

 

7 COMMENTS

    • Indeed. Doubly ironic since Apple is also famous within the IT industry for being one of the most paranoid companies regarding security (as in secrecy). There is very much a need to know culture within the development teams with the developers of the system software for new products not being allowed to see the form factor right up to launch, etc, etc.

      Given how many details of their latest iPhones and other products tend to leak out before the launch you might not believe Apple’s intense focus on security but it is true none the less. In fairness, when they deal with such a big supply chain and need to ramp up production prior to launch they really are on a hiding to nothing trying to keep details of future products secret.

  1. HMG quietly going about it’s business, no need for fanfare – just an announcement and highlighting the work ahead.
    We may do things quietly, but we do them well and then we move on.
    A country on its knees……if that’s what certain people think we are, then do be it – I would say we have some of the best knees in the business and by 31 March next year we will be ready to stand tall and take our place in the world.

    • Lee we have always stood tall and had in important place in the world, being in or out of Europe is not really that relevant to our international standing. Never really got why either side gets so full of angst on being in or out. It was actually mainly a decision on how a lot of beurocratic/admin functions work, some interesting interactions if your into geopolitics and the history/function of government but 99.99% of the population will notice very little change in their lives after all the policitians have stopped using it as a power/influencer game.

      • Hi Jonathan
        I fully understand that but as you state both sides gets so full of angst with regards in/out.
        I am hoping once the date has passed both sides will stop fighting each other and actually get on with making the best of who we are and what we can do for the world. In the mean time some parts of HMG are actually quietly getting on with the job at hand whilst others are still coming to terms with how a yes/no in/out vote works and whilst they come to terms continuously talk the country down.
        Politics works on big announcements, large symbolic things taking place – 31 March is one of those things. Will many things change administratively, probably not, geopolitics not much – mindsets will though. It’s those mindsets that politicians try and tap into, showing that they can lead, that the future is bright. One of the things they will use is Global Britain – going out into the world, making new friends re-enforcing old ones, seeking new ties and the strengthening of current institutions like the Commonwealth.
        Politics is all about the management of change, change is coming – it needs to be embraced.
        If you believe we stand tall now I only hope in the next 18 months we try and stand taller using the opportunity democracy has given us.

      • Except those poor bastards who will lose their jobs and HMG in their reduced tax take from a deminished Financial and industrial sector. Less money for Defence I’m afraid. But let’s not get into Brexit. I agree that all we do in security terms with our partners and allies around the world will still happen whether we’re in or out of the EU. And yes, in terms of intelligence gathering and security issues we have traditionally punched above our weight. Let’s hope we continue to do so for many years to come!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here