GCHQ’s “Chinese menu” of tools spreads disinformation across Internet

Just a few of the "weaponized" capabilities from GCHQ's catalog of information warfare tools.

What appears to be an internal Wiki page detailing the cyber-weaponry used by the British spy agency GCHQ was published today by Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. The page, taken from the documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, lists dozens of tools used by GCHQ to target individuals and their computing devices, spread disinformation posing as others, and “shape” opinion and information available online.

The page had been maintained by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) Covert Internet Technical Development team, but it fell out of use by the time Snowden copied it. Greenwald and NBC previously reported on JTRIG’s “dirty tricks” tactics for psychological operations and information warfare, and the new documents provide a hint at how those tactics were executed. GCHQ’s capabilities included tools for manipulating social media, spoofing communications from individuals and groups, and warping the perception of content online through manipulation of polls and web pages’ traffic and search rankings.

Originally intended to inform other organizations within GCHQ (and possibly NSA) of new capabilities being developed by the group, the JTRIG CITD team noted on the page, “We don’t update this page anymore, it became somewhat of a Chinese menu for effects operations.” The page lists 33 “effects capability” tools, as well as a host of other capabilities for collecting information, tracking individuals, attacking computers, and extracting information from seized devices.

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