Information Warfare

Bronk: U.S. must up its game in ‘information wars’


A word of caution about this article, I cannot read the entire article due to it being hidden behind a paywall.

“Information wars”, cyber attacks and computer hacking appear interchangeable terms in this introductory paragraph by journalist Chris Bronk.  Many political professionals make the same mistake, confusing influence operations with cyber attacks.  Using the term “information war” is sexy, but cyber is only a small, minor part of IW.

I’ve noticed this laziness when the only game in town concerned with cyber was information operations, in the military.  The misuse of this term became so widespread, that for the next ten to 15 years the first part of every conversation with a new person or a company that claimed to do IO was me asking them, “what part of IO do you do”?  Mostly it was IT work, and not necessarily even cyber security work.

The term “information warfare” came out of the US Department of Defense lexicon in 2006, only the US Navy continued to use the term as a euphemism for cryptography.  Now that Russia is using full-tilt information warfare against the West, it is again fashionable to use the term – without a definition.  Like propaganda, it is also undefined and will continue to be abused until someone creates a definition.

Some say it doesn’t matter.  Let’s be frank about this.  If I call your mother a hoe, it doesn’t matter that there is no definition.  You would be insulted and want to sue me for defamation.  It is not a street walker, however, if I meant a garden implement. For a man we could use the word rake to insult and also mean a garden tool.

The term propaganda is grossly abused, the leadership has ignored the problem to the point where anything the government says is misinterpreted as propaganda. Now we are seeing the same abuse for “information warfare”.

Professionals in the field are careful not to use the term incorrectly, why can’t the government and the media be held to the same standard?

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Russia’s attempt to influence elections points up need to defend country’s institutions, information systems, and intelligence against cyber attacks

December 17, 2016

In recent days, significant new evidence has emerged of a Russian campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, as well as several U.S. House races. Although there is no evidence of computer hacking of voting systems, agencies of the U.S. intelligence community have produced significant findings regarding cyber attacks to purloin sensitive information from the Democratic National Committee and the email accounts of other senior party officials, concretely tying them to Russia.

Continued at (paywall): http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Bronk-U-S-must-up-its-game-in-information-wars-10803610.php