cyberwar · Cyberwarfare · Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Politicians Intermix Cyberwar, Information Warfare, And Fake News


By politicians, please allow me to use Hillary Clinton as an example of someone who doesn’t quite get it, doesn’t make any effort to differentiate terms, or doesn’t care about being right, she just wants to be heard.

Former Democratic Candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, is trying to sell her book, remain relevant, and be seen as an involved person of action.  This is today’s headline in the Washington Examiner.

Ms. Clinton appears to lump all these actions together, blurring the lines, overlapping and intermixing different terms:

1. Cyberattacks, ie, Cyberwar. Cyberattacks against “vital infrastructure” should be categorized an act of war, she said in a speech on Friday at Stanford.  The problem is, there is no such thing as vital infrastructure.  There is, however, “critical infrastructure” and that is big.

2. Information Warfare. Now she changes gears:

She largely couched this point on reports of Russians using cyber tactics to sway people’s opinions during the 2016 campaign, including on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as efforts to breach voting machines. Clinton said the Russians engaged in information warfare.”

“Cyber tactics”?  If I hit you with ten electrons is that some sort of a cyber tactic???

Ah, she means “sway people’s opinions” and “Clinton said the Russians engaged in information warfare.”

That’s different.  Cyber Warfare is a small, tiny, miniscule part of Information Warfare. Information Warfare is huge.  Cyber attacks, emplacing cyber toolkits, and espionage can gain access to a system, then the hackers or, rather, thieves, must copy the targeted information to another server.  Hopefully they found something useful, which might be shared using Wikileaks as a conduit or a public website for sharing, to embarrass someone.  That last part is called Kompromat, and it is as old as the hills. The Soviets did that for nearly a century.  The only thing that has changed is how they get the information.

3. Fake News. The third thing she mentions is Fake News.  “Clinton said there is a need for a “massive campaign” against “fake news,” a term that has been coined by President Trump to slam outlets whose reporting he opposes.”  Unfortunately, President Trump did not invent the term fake news, not nearly. But fake news, fake news outlets, and fake ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram misleads, perhaps, millions of people.  We can point our fingers at the Russians all we want, but can only blame ourselves for not paying attention to the pundits who have pointed this out since 2014.

Bottom line, Hillary Clinton is no different than any other politician.  They use the wrong terms – constantly. They seem to believe that cyberwar, information war, and fake news are interchangeable.  They are not because each is distinctly different.

If anyone in Congress wants or needs a brief, let me know, please.

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