People frequently discuss how profound the impact of information technology has been on the world. It has affected businesses, education, and the economy. Even our relationships have come under its influence. However, the endless stream of information is not always as objectionable and reliable as expected.
The term “information warfare” has been doing the rounds for some years now, and today, it’s a representation of the current situation in the information-centric age.
The meaning of information warfare, however, remains ambiguous. There’s a broad agreement that it has many complex dimensions. The many dimensions of information warfare make it even harder to understand and define.
It is simple to find the information you need online. And, sometimes, people fall into specific categories depending on their browsing habits. Thanks to various tracking practices online, it is possible to promote content or products that will look appealing to particular users. In some cases, users will get stuck in a loop of similar opinions. And, sometimes, people need stories and facts that challenge their opinions.
Thus, one of the recent risks of digital information is misinformation and fake news. We all have stumbled upon fictitious stories or those that intentionally spin the facts.
In some ways, information warfare relates to misinformation and fake news. Certain parties can spread rumors or false details on events. In other cases, information warfare could aim to disrupt communications. That could relate to vicious attempts to halt crucial infrastructure components or organizations. We have seen such attempts throughout history, and such threats will pose a greater threat in the future.
However, the information war is not all about interrupting operations or spreading fake news. Sometimes, it is about the representation of events.
The modern media landscape allows instant exchange of information. People can participate on social media or other platforms, and their role in distributing information increases.
The current events in the world relating to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have shown the remarkable significance of digital space. There are many resources for finding details associated with this incident. And at least once, people have stumbled upon fake news or updates that disappear once proven to be untrue.
The abundance of articles, Twitter posts, and opinions makes finding transparent news difficult. Thus, the fragmented landscape with many information sources has affected how people perceive this unnecessary war. And the main reason for that is the differences in how different sources describe and label this global event.
Additionally, the instant distribution of information makes it possible to distribute fake news quickly. For instance, spreading fake videos or images used to take a lot of time and patience until media outlets picked them up. Now, entities can spread information via social media platforms instantly.
Let’s investigate the various aspects of information warfare to understand how it’s waged. To put it more precisely, let’s study the major weapons used that define the methods adopted.
It is an essential aspect of information warfare as it’s largely believed that the side with more information is at a distinct advantage over its adversary. It gives the side better situational awareness helping form better battle plans, thereby ensuring effective outcomes. Knowing the position of the foes puts the other side a step ahead of the adversary.
Based on the Global Positioning System (GPS), navigation helps gauge the enemy’s positions. Reconnaissance and surveillance technologies involve using sensors from spectra like olfactory, infrared, auditory, visual, etc., to collect data about enemy positions and then compile them systematically to help visualize enemy positions. These technologies can infiltrate enemy lines and gather accurate information to help design better war plans.
It implies hiding your information, so the enemy has minimum access to it. We have technologies to protect our vital data storage facilities, computers, and transport mechanisms. Such technologies include the latest innovations like fingerprint scans. Then, we have the more critical technologies that prevent the interception of information by the enemy, including essential computer security technologies like passwords and sophisticated ones like encryption.
In information warfare, information manipulation refers to altering information so that the opponent has a distorted picture of reality. Several technologies, including computer software that edits text, video, graphics, audio, and other forms of transporting information, are used.
There’s manual designing of the data presented before the enemy. It ensures that those in command are in complete control of the picture shown before the enemy. That said, it’s the technologies used widely to manipulate information faster after the content of the information has been decided.
Information dependent military operations can be crippled by the techniques and the weapons we have discussed above. However, not only the governing bodies need to pay attention to the threats posed by information warfare. All people around the world must know how to recognize reliable sources. With the amount of misinformation circulating online, all netizens must be critical of the updates they find.
Using sophisticated technology and intricately planned strategies, information warfare isn’t any less complex than traditional warfare. It involves meticulous planning and clever implementation. 21st-century battles shall see the increased use of information warfare. We should all be aware and prepared to face the challenge.