Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Information Warfare

The definition of Information warfare is “the offensive and defensive use of information and information systems to deny, exploit, corrupt, or destroy, an adversary's information, information-based processes, information systems, and computer-based networks while protecting one's own. Such actions are designed to achieve advantages over military or business adversaries.” The target of information warfare can be people, corporates, or countries.
Why look at Information Warfare?
                       Intruder activities like cyber vandalism are increasing, though these cannot be termed as information warfare they act as tools of Information warfare. Also they have become commercial like phishing attacks etc. involving commercial activities improve the efficiency and innovation in a process. Commercial attacks involve cops. That makes people involved more strategic in evasion and security agencies develop more technologies to protect data.
                             Information warfare is as old as war itself. It is mentioned in many ancient books on wars. A number of authors in warfare discuss it. One of the earliest mention of IW can be found in Sun Tzu’s Art of war.
Value of IW
                                Information warfare degrades the enemy’s ability to wage war. And enhances your ability to wage war. It provides operational control and allows for superior intelligence and situational awareness .
Five pillar of warfare
The following are the important components of information warfare.
·         Security
·         Deception
·         Destruction
·         Psychological Warfare
·         Command and control

The first component of information warfare is protecting your information. Traditional encryption authentication techniques are used to protect the information from being accessed by people who do not have permission to access them. Security also involve Information gathering. One must have superior information gathering technique to outlast Information war.

                                All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”  (Sun Tzu)
To win any war one need deception to gain upper hand. The players in Information war should be able to conceal the intent, extent, tool available for offense and defense. Misdirection is often used to evade attacks and to capture threats.
The information sources of opponent need to be destroyed. War involves lot of strategic destruction. The targets of destruction need to be selected with care to not exhaust resources or give away intention.
Psychological Warfare
Psychological warfare is the manipulation of perception of people. The targets are not always within enemy ranks. Sometimes their own people need to be manipulated to gain support improve stability etc. It need not always involve deception. Truth need to be packaged to get the required results. The flow of information need to be controlled in order to perform psychological warfare.
Command and control
Command and control is core element that holds any army together. During war the enemy always try to disrupt the command structure. The command structure is what that gives the sense of direction to the army, It needs to be protected with high priority. Disruption of command and control will have permanent consequences.

Motivating Factors that involve people to cyber attacks
The following are the key motivating factors that attracts people to involve in cyber warfare.
·         Play
·         Crime
·         Individual Rights
·         National security

            Many people learn hacking out of curiosity. They like the trill of being part of elite community. The hacker communities have a command chain and many young people try and succeed in climbing the command chain at very young age. A lot of attacks don’t need high level of technical expertise, but require only time and interest.
                             Piracy, credit card theft  , Information theft are increasing. Millions of dollars being lost every day in crimes related to information warfare.
Individual rights
Breach of privacy is a huge threat faced by most people. Many times it is done by governments on their own people. Though the intention may be to protect their own interests, it will have negative implication on people. Censorship is imposed on contents available over internet to comply with laws ,religious sentiments etc. Restrictions motivate people to break them.In Some case this may result in good results like with Open source/Free software movements while in other cases it leads to destructive results like cyber vandalism, piracy release of information that may cause harm.
National Interest
All governments have systems to gather and protect information that they need. They collect information on the opinion of the people, the status of allies and hostile nations. The gathering of information in a grey area it involves bypassing of many laws but is a necessary process for any government. They also need proper system for protecting their people from cyber-attacks and support for prosecuting and recovery after attacks.
Motivation of Information warfare
Money, power, psychological advantage, politics and survival are the most common factors that motivate information warfare.
Classes of IW
The following are classis of IW based on the target scope
  • Class 1:  Personal Information Warfare
  • Class 2:  Corporate Information Warfare
  • Class 3:  Global Information Warfare

The common tools used in Information warfare are.
·         Computer Viruses
·         Worms
·         Trojan Horses
·         Logic Bombs
·         Trap Doors
·         Chipping
·         Electronic Jamming
·         EMP Bombs
·         Penetration exploits and tools

Types of war
The following are types of IW based on the attacks involved
·         Type I:  Perception Management
·         Type II: Denial, Destruction, degradation, distortion
·         Type III:  Exploiting enemy information flows

Forms of IW
Perception Management:
Perception Management is an information operation that aims to affect the perceptions of others in order to influence their emotions, reasoning, decisions, and ultimately actions. Any medium can be used. The medium used are face-to-face interaction, print, telecommunications broadcast and computer networks. It is used in military, politics, advertising and also in day to day life.
PSYOPS (psychological operations)
PSYOPS aim to influence behavior by affecting the human psyche through fear, desire, logic, and other mental factors.
Softwar is he hostile use of global television to shape another nation’s will by changing its vision of reality. ”Global television offers parties a “cheap, accurate, real-time, politico-military intelligence service that simultaneously acts as an extremely potent instrument to affect adversely and directly the domestic body politic.”
Television, by its nature, is an effective, insidious and dangerous medium for delivery of propaganda… television is a ‘cool’ medium that defines events by the viewer’s perception of images and sound, rather than of reality. ““Perception can be further distorted by various aspects of telegenic: lighting, sun angle, ‘star’ quality, voice quality …”
An example:“The Nixon-Kennedy debate during the 1960 Presidential election is one example.  The transcripts show a fairly even contest; those listening on radio felt strongly that Nixon had won.  To the millions watching television, however, Kennedy’s natural camera appeal was enhanced by makeup and a dark suit and contrasted with a perspiring Nixon with a five-o’clock shadow, leaving the perception that Kennedy had won decisively.”
Case Study
The incubator story
Before the gulf war the following news was reported in media “During the invasion, Iraqi soldiers entered multiple Kuwaiti hospitals, removed babies from incubators, shipped the incubators back to Iraq, and left the babies on the floor.” Story repeated often, several witnesses came forward. The credibility of the story came from a court witness by a 12 year girl named Nayirah.
Was it true
After the war, Middle East Watch was shown death certificates for 30 Kuwaiti babies who were all buried on August 24, 1990. Of those 30 babies, 19 had died before the Iraqi invasion began, and 11 died during the occupation. None of the 30 were ever shown to have been removed from incubators. All of the witnesses backed off from their original claims of having supervised or participated in the burial of babies. 
Andrew Whitley, executive director of Middle East Watch, and part of a two-man investigation in Kuwait, was quoted as having said:"Soon after we arrived in Kuwait, two weeks after the liberation it became apparent that the story was a complete hoax. We were able to go 'round the hospitals to count the incubators and find that - possibly with one or two that had been misplaced - that none were missing.  So none of the incubators were removed in the first place. Moreover, it seemed quite clear that there weren't any deaths which had been deliberately the cause of the Iraqis having gone in and stolen equipment."

“Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder and crush him.  If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, avoid him.  If you opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him.  Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.  If he is taking his ease, give him no rest.  If his forces are united, separate them.  Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.  These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.” Art or war.