Information Warfare

Information Warfare represents a rapidly evolving and, as yet, imprecisely defined field of growing interest for defense planners and policymakers. The source of both the interests and the imprecision in this field is the so-called information revolution triggered by the ongoing rapid evolution of cyberspace, microcomputers, and associated information technologies.

Information Warfare is defined as “Actions taken to affect adversary information and information systems while defending one’s own information and information systems.”

This kind of warfare consists of actions intended to protect, exploit, corrupt, deny, or destroy information or information resources in order to achieve a significant advantage, objective, or victory over an adversary.

There are several types of information warfare operations. The following, incomplete list may serve as an example:

  • Computer intrusion
  • Eavesdropping
  • Computer viruses
  • Trojan horses
  • Computer virus hoaxes

They all are based on and make use of the methods of conventional warefare operations, as there are:
  • Human spies
  • Spy satellites
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Electronic warfare
  • Physical destruction of communications facilities
  • Falsification of papers
  • Perception management
  • Psychological operations

Depending on the circumstances, some acts are crime. Others are legal but unethical and others are considered acceptable practices of governments or other parties. Some operations are affiliated with military conflicts. Others are situated in broader conflicts at an individual, organizational, or societal level. What they have in common is that these acts are all target information or exploit information resources to the advantage of the perpetrator.