UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon says his country is partaking in the ongoing battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul by conducting cyber attacks against the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorists.
The Iraqi army, volunteer Shia and Sunni fighters along with Kurdish Peshmerga forces have launched a fierce battle to liberate Mosul, the last stronghold of Daesh in Iraq, which was overran in June 2014.
“I can confirm we are using offensive cyber for the first time in this campaign,” Fallon said during a conference in London on Friday.
Although the top military official did not go into details, the admission was noteworthy in that it was the first time any country besides the US was openly discussing cyber warfare against Daesh.
Britain is part of a US-led coalition that has been conducting airstrikes against the group’s alleged positions in Iraq without any clear results.
Washington has also boasted of dropping “cyberbombs” on Daesh as part of its new line of combat led by the US military’s six-year-old Cyber Command.
Daesh has seemingly developed a cyber outfit that has reportedly managed to infiltrate American and British militaries on several occasions.
Calling itself the ISIL Hacking Division, the group has published a “hitlist” of US drone pilots, which was obtained through what the group referred to as a “mole” in the UK Defense Ministry.
The target list the group has released included names, photographs and other biographical details of the people it claimed were US Air Force staff members involved in drone operations across the world.
The group said it would use its source to “slowly and secretly infiltrate England and the USA online and off,” according to a report by theSunday Times.
A number of similar hitlists were released by Daesh later on, but their credibility was never confirmed.
Daesh has been known to utilize the internet and online social media networks for propaganda and recruitment purposes.
Cutting residents’ access to the internet was one of the first tactics that Daesh resorted to as the battle to retake the city began this week.