The British media earlier spread allegations that Russia might be behind the distribution of internet memes ridiculing the COVID-19 vaccine developed in the UK and questioning its safety.
A UK intelligence unit, known as the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has been authorised to conduct cyber operations to tackle the spread of anti-vaccine propaganda online, The Times reported citing an anonymous government source. According to the newspaper, the government increasingly views anti-vaxxers as a new priority because of the upcoming registration of domestically-developed vaccines against the coronavirus.
Apart from GCHQ, a secretive UK Army unit within the 77th Brigade specialising in information warfare will be taking part in the efforts “to quash rumours about misinformation” related to the COVID-19 vaccines, General Sir Nick Carter confirmed to The Times.
The newspaper’s source claims that GCHQ will be using the same toolkit it utilised to combat Daesh* and its propaganda and recruitment efforts. The toolkit includes ways of taking down undesired content and conducting cyber attacks against the cyberactors behind it, for example by encrypting the perpetrators’ computer data, The Times added.
However, GCHQ will not be able to use its tools against everyone online because its authority only extends to dealing with state cyber actors and the content created by them, the newspaper reported citing another anonymous government…