(Portal) – Russia has not gained ground on Ukraine in cyberspace nearly six months after invading the country, the head of Britain’s intelligence agency GCHQ said on Friday.
Jeremy Fleming, the intelligence chief, wrote in an op-ed in The Economist that both countries used their cyber capabilities in the war in Ukraine.
“So far, President Putin has comprehensively lost the information war in Ukraine and the West. While this is cause for celebration, we should not underestimate the impact of Russian disinformation elsewhere in the world,” Fleming wrote.
“As with its land invasion, Russia’s initial online plans appear to have fallen short. The country’s use of offensive cyber tools was irresponsible and indiscriminate.”
Fleming said Russia used WhisperGate malware to destroy and deface Ukrainian government systems.
He also said Russia has already used the same playbook in relation to Syria and the Balkans, saying online disinformation is an important part of Russia’s strategy. However, GCHQ was able to intercept and warn in good time, he said.
Without going into detail, Fleming said Britain’s National Cyber Force could respond to Russia by sending in a British military unit using offensive cyber tools.
(Reporting by Rachna Dhanrajani in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)