- Dinesh Bhattarai
- (Update: July 28, 2019)
- 1038 words
- 6 min
Information is a key data or knowledge that is useful to the given party. In the Information Age, information holds the greatest value. A warfare deals with neutralizing the enemies' power. Information warfare and iWar mostly deals with getting key information, hiding it from enemies, making the information obscure, adding lies to it, completely changing the information and many other forms of strategies in which enemies' information center and knowledge is compromised. As a result, enemy can't make proper decision and loses its position. Cyber warfare can also be considered a form of information warfare in which opponent's knowledge center is compromised or destroyed, making them completely useless.
The risk, cost and repercussion for the initiating iWar is low in comparision to a traditional attack. As a result, there are more adversaries and attacks are frequent.
With increasing use of information technologies, increases the surface area to attack. Lack of proper regulations and accountability has created many serious loopholes in the system. As a result, many of such technologies and devices can act as the pawn of the adversary, making it even more difficult to identify the adversary.
The world is in the state of Mutual assured destruction due to accumulating nuclear power. Any act of traditional war will result in Pyrrhic victory at best and civilization destroying suicide attack at worst.
Attack is mostly done on critical infrastructures to bring the enemy to knees. Power Grid, Communications Networks, Internet, Financial Networks and Institutions, Transportation Network, Drones, etc. are the ones which are targeted mostly.
Consequencies of Information war
Consequences of information ins long term. The attack is always on the core infrastructure so rebuilding it takes time. Jamming of the systems is recoverable soon but the problem is of trojan horses that may reside in such compromised system. If the information infrastructure is compromised, no any information is trustworthy and any decision can be as fatal. When financial network is compromised, it can have huge effect on the economy of the nation. Gatekeeping of information can be hard to detect yet the adversary can have silent attack over a period of time. Media manipulation on the internet is an example of such attack that can have huge impact on large population. An adversary can release of secret information and let other adversaries do the trick while the original adversary sits and watches.
Current state of the world
Fake news is common nowadays. They are major problems in many social networks. Fake news mostly forward an propaganda and people follow these propaganda as they repeatedly get exposed to the propaganda. Black Propaganda makes it difficult to identify the agenda behind the propaganda as it is in most of the cases that people are not aware that someone is influencing them. Character assassination is another problem in the stack. James Bond Tomorrow Never Dies movie has the same theme set in motion in which information lord tries to take over the world.
There are many adversaries active in the warfare including businesses, companies, industries12, nations and states. Adversaries play their moves one at a time and hence it is not easy to pinpoint the source for any results. The party at maximum loss is always the public whereas the adversaries take some of the hit.
Most recent example of information warfare is connected to Cambridge Analytica. Analytica collected about 5000 data points from 50 million americans. Cambridge Analytica was linked with many countries including US, Nepal and many developing nations. Politicians were using it for their voting campaigns and political advantage, targeting many voters based on their preferences3.
Current security of the systems is low. Many of the systems have loopholes, security holes and backdoors in them. Cryptography used in many of the systems is old and not updated for long. So our systems are fragile and prone to fail in case of attack.
Most people are unaware and ignorant of the information war that is constantly going on. Many of them are happy that traditional war is over. They are yet to realize that another war has started and now everyone is as powerful. Those who do not yet accept the existence of enemy and know how to counteract it are at most loss.
My take on information war
As the cost of war decreases, security will increase due to inherent necessity. More vigilante eyes will open. The society as a whole will be more conscious. Public will be immune to propaganda and misinformation with proper education and awareness4567. We have a long way to reach there but we will definitely reach there.