Seminar in Information Warfare

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Part of the Strategic Studies curriculum

What is a Seminar?[edit | edit source]

A seminar style of learning involves students studying facets of an issue and teaching the other students. This is not considered to be a definitive body of knowledge on a seminar subject. On the contrary, the job of the students in a seminar is to collect references, do their own independent study, and bring that knowledge back into the seminar. This page will therefore be in a constant state of flux and addition as new students come in with their own study interests and flesh out the page more and more. Students with interest in given topics but without the resources or background to study those topics should request assistance below. People who can contribute to the discussion in any way should. Debate is encouraged. Occasionally, projects may be put up on this page to encourage students to debate given issues. Current events are always welcome in a seminar.

Pages the Seminar Should Develop[edit | edit source]

Please place the topics in which you have interest here. You and others can then flesh out the references for the topics and we can deepen the knowledge base of all seminar participants.

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Introduction to Information Warfare[edit | edit source]

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.[1]

Information warfare is the use of information to conduct offensive and defensive operations against an enemy. Information warfare consists of various techniques and technologies in order to intercept the enemy's tactical information while protecting your own information from the opponent. It is an essential component in the current warfare buzzword "C3I," which is a reference to the importance of Command, Control, Communications, and Information in modern military operations. Though these buzzwords come in many different flavours and sizes (from C&C to C5I), the message is the same: Information is an integral part of modern warfighting, and it cannot be disincluded from a discussion about warfare in general.

Information is the sum of knowledge, accurate and inaccurate, available to a commander or a fighting force. It can be gathered through any number of means, including but not limited to:

Information warfare is both offensive and defensive. It consists of the gathering of accurate information, the collation and dissemination of said information, and the denial of the same to the adversary. A key to information warfare is the reliability of information, thus quantity and quality are both axes upon which the utility of information can be judged. When intelligence operators, for example, report information gathered from or by their sources, it is important that they not only synthesize and corroborate their information, but judge the consistency and reliability of their source and report this to their superiors.

Information Warfare: Why ?[edit | edit source]

It's no secret for anyone that in the world of today, information is the key to success, not just in the military , but also in business and even for the individual who seeks to climb the social ladder.

Let's take, for example, the small shopkeeper or businessman that just started his company. How can he hope to compete with established companies with vast resources and a strong customer base? One must have something new that his competitors does not have. One must then study his competitors to find lacks and weaknesses in the services he offers. Once one has found those weaknesses, he then must develop the service without those weaknesses. For example, an entrepreneur wishes to open a small restaurant in an already crowded sector. He pretends to be a customer and then collects the menus of his competitors. He observed that many of his competitors do not offer healthy alternatives and also that none of the other restaurants offers ice cream during the summer. This entrepreneur knows that those services are currently popular with customers because he took the time to poll the citizens of the sector. By offerig those services to the customers, this entrepreneur has now two advantages over his competitors and can attract customers from his competitors.

In the example above, we can detect at least three instance where information was used to gain an advantage over the opponent. First by collecting the menus his competitor are offering to the customers. Second, he analyzed the menus he collected and found what was not offered. Third, by polling the citizens on what they would like to buy from a restaurant, he compared what the customers asked and what the competitors were offering.

With this example, I wanted to show a little example of how information plays a primordial role in gaining an advantage over an opponent. Of course, things are more complicated than that. One must also be able to protect his information from his opponents. Here is a very concrete and recent example of information warfare:

Recently, during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, the Hezbollah intercepted radio communications from Israeli ground troops. The information captured played an important role in the defense of Hezbollah troops, as they could adjust their defenses according to Israeli troops movements. This made the Israeli offensive much harder. [2]

We will explore in the following chapter how information warfare was used through the ages, how it is used today and the various forms information warfare can take. We will finally discuss the future of information warfare.

Information Warfare through History[edit | edit source]

Electronic Warfare[edit | edit source]

Electronic warfare (EW) is the use of the electromagnetic spectrum to deny its effective use by an adversary.

As the use of electronics became more prominant in warfare, so did the need to jam, disable, or destroy enemy devices while protecting friendly devices.

EW is a necessary part of any modern military operation, and it has become a type of arms race that is parallel to the development of actual, physical weapons.

Electronic warefare is also the use of electronics to gain information about adversaries so that physical weapons can be put to more effective use.

Cyber Warfare[edit | edit source]

Cyber warfare is the use of the Internet and the Web to conduct offensive and defensive operations against servers and/or websites to disrupt the enemy's presence on the Internet. This type of electronic warfare is commonly used to spread propaganda on the Internet and to attack symbols of power.

Web vandalism is a common way to achieve such goals by small organizations as it requires little knowledge and material. Web vandalism consists in replacing webpages of an enemy's by one's own and/or shutting down the opponent's servers by using massive Denial of Service attacks on the enemy's systems. Web vandalism is usually of little consequences and rarely results in informations theft and is mainly use for propaganda.

No wide use of cyber warfare has been used as of today. Some attacks have been reported recently as the U.S Commerce Department claimed to have been attacked by Chinese hackers [3] We should expect cyber warfare to be more and more common as many nations are rapidly extending their technological expertise.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sun Tzu, The Art of War
  2. Hezbollah cracks Israeli radio code, John Leyden, The Register, 2006-09-20
  3. Computer System Under Attack, Alan Sipress, The Washington Post, 2006-10-06

External Links[edit | edit source]