World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group


Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group

The Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) is a unit of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence agency .[1] The existence of JTRIG was revealed as part of the global surveillance disclosures by NBC News in documents leaked by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.[2]


  • Mission 1
  • Operations 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The scope of the JTRIG's mission includes using "dirty tricks" to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications.[2][3] Known as "Effects" operations, the work of JTRIG had become a "major part" of GCHQ's operations by 2010.[2] The slides also disclose the deployment of "honey traps" of a sexual nature by British intelligence agents.[2]


In 2011, the JTRIG conducted a denial-of-service attack (DoS) on the activist network Anonymous.[1] Other JTRIG targets have included the government of Iran and the Taliban in Afghanistan.[2]

Campaigns operated by JTRIG have broadly fallen into two categories; cyber attacks and propaganda efforts. The propaganda efforts (named "Online Covert Action"[4]) utilize "mass messaging" and the “pushing [of] stories” via the medium of Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube.[2] Online “false flag” operations are also used by JTRIG against targets.[2] JTRIG have also changed photographs on social media sites, as well as emailing and texting work colleagues and neighbours with "unsavory information" about the targeted individual.[2]

A computer virus named Ambassadors Reception has been used by GCHQ “in a variety of different areas” and has been described in the slides as “very effective.” The virus can “encrypt itself, delete all emails, encrypt all files, [and] make [the] screen shake” when sent to adversaries.[2] The virus can also block a user from logging on to their computer.[2] Information obtained by GCHQ is also used in “close access technical operations,” in which targets are physically observed by intelligence officers, sometimes in person at hotels. Telephone calls can also be listened to and hotel computers tapped, the documents ask, “Can we influence hotel choice? Can we cancel their visits?”.[2]

In a "honey trap" an identified target is lured “to go somewhere on the Internet, or a physical location” to be met by “a friendly face”, with the aim to discredit them.[2] A “honey trap” is described as "very successful when it works” by the slides.[2] The disclosures also revealed the technique of “credential harvesting”, in which journalists could be used to disseminate information and identify non-British journalists who, once manipulated, could give information to the intended target of a secret campaign, perhaps providing access during an interview.[2] It is unknown whether the journalists would be aware that they were being manipulated.[2]

A JTRIG operation saw GCHQ "significantly disrupt" the communications of the Taliban in Afghanistan with a "blizzard" of faxes, phone calls and text messages scheduled to arrive every minute.[2] Specific JTRIG operations also targeted the nuclear program of Iran with negative information on blogs attacking private companies, to affect business relationships and scupper business deals.[2]

JTRIG also undertook cyber-operations as part of a wider GCHQ mission to prevent Argentine takeover of the Falkland Islands. The scope of the cyber tactics used in this operation are unclear. [5]

In June 2015, NSA files published by Glenn Greenwald revealed new details about JTRIG's work at covertly manipulating online communities.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q
  3. ^ - contains the DISRUPTION Operational Playbook slide presentation by GCHQ
  4. ^ Snowden: ‘Training Guide’ for GCHQ, NSA Agents Infiltrating and Disrupting Alternative Media Online. February 25, 2014.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Greenwald, Glenn and Andrew Fishman. Controversial GCHQ Unit Engaged in Domestic Law Enforcement, Online Propaganda, Psychology Research. The Intercept. 2015-06-22.

External links

  • Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet - The Intercept
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.