Nearly six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, President Putin has failed to win the war on information against Ukraine, said Head of British Intelligence GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, in an opinion piece for the Economist.
Fleming wrote that both sides have deployed full cyber capabilities in the war in Ukraine. "So far, President Putin has completely lost the information war to Ukraine and the West," he said. "While that is cause for celebration, we should not underestimate how eagerly Russian disinformation is shared elsewhere in the world."
Russia is spreading disinformation on social media in various countries in Africa, according to the US Embassy and Counsels in Italy. These write that social media giants such as Meta's Facebook and Twitter have intercepted some of these disinformation attempts.
Failed Russian plans
Yet despite these threats, Fleming writes that "as with the land invasion, Russia's online plans seem to have failed. The use of offensive cyber tools is irresponsible and arbitrary."
Russia has used WhisperGate, a malware, to destroy and damage Ukrainian government systems. Russia previously deployed the same playbook in Syria and the Balkans, and disinformation online was a key part of Russia's strategy. In Ukraine, British intelligence managed to intercept and give a warning in time, according to Fleming.
NATO and EU-member Estonia said it recently fended off a Russian cyberattack after it removed Soviet-era monuments. Estonia was a victim of widespread cyberattacks on its public systems in 2007, but this time there was limited damage.