- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2018

Britain significantly disrupted the Islamic State’s operations by conducting a first-of-its-kind cyberattack against the terror group, a top U.K. official said Thursday.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense and Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, a British security and intelligence agency, together “conducted a major offensive cyber campaign” against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or Daesh, GCHQ chief Jeremy Fleming said at a security conference in Manchester.

“This is the first time the U.K. has systematically and persistently degraded an adversaries online efforts as part of a wider military campaign,” Mr. Fleming said.

“Did it work? I think it did,” said Mr. Fleming, a former senior officer in the MI5, a British domestic counter-intelligence and security agency.

Mr. Fleming said the joint operation against the Islamic State was “too sensitive to talk about in detail,” but he claimed the offensive campaign “made a significant contribution to the coalition’s efforts to suppress their propaganda, hindered their ability to coordinate attacks and protected coalition forces on the battlefield.”

“We may look to deny service, disrupt a specific online activity, deter an individual or a group or perhaps destroy equipment and networks,” Mr. Fleming said. “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.”

The U.S. Cyber Command hijacked several internet accounts used by the Islamic State to spread terrorist propaganda in 2016 as part of a military campaign dubbed “Operation Glowing Symphony,” The Washington Post reported last year.

Previously the U.S. has resorted to other means with respect to degrading the group’s online capabilities, like an August 2015 airstrike that killed Junaid Hussain, an Islamic State operative who managed its social media operations and was considered one of the terror group’s top recruiters.

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