WASHINGTON — Not long after Defense Secretary Ash Carter prodded his cyber commanders to be more aggressive in the fight against Islamic State, the U.S. ramped up its offensive cyberattacks on the militant group.

According to several U.S. officials, the attacks are targeting the group’s abilities to use social media and the Internet to recruit fighters and inspire followers, U.S. officials told The Associated Press.

U.S. officials confirmed that operations launched out of Fort Meade, Maryland, where the U.S. Cyber Command is based, have focused on disrupting the group’s online activities. The officials said the effort is getting underway as operators try a range of attacks to see what works and what doesn’t. They declined to discuss details, other than to say that the attacks include efforts to prevent the group from distributing propaganda, videos or other types of recruiting and messaging on social media sites such as Twitter, and across the Internet in general.

Other attacks could include attempts to stop insurgents from conducting financial or logistical transactions online.

The surge of computer-based military operations by U.S. Cyber Command began shortly after Carter met with commanders at Fort Meade last month.

Several U.S. officials spoke about the cyber campaign on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. Much of the effort is classified.

Carter mentioned the operations briefly Thursday, telling a House Appropriations subcommittee only that Cyber Command is beginning to conduct operations against the Islamic State group. He declined to say more in a public setting.

The more aggressive attacks come after months of pressure from Carter, who has been frustrated with the belief that the Pentagon – and particularly Cyber Command – was losing the war in the cyber domain.

Late last year Carter told cyber commanders they had 30 days to bring him options for how the military could use its cyberwarfare capabilities against the group’s deadly insurgency across Iraq and Syria, and spreading to Libya and Afghanistan.