We certainly live in interesting times. Just look at the United States presidential election in 2016. Which of the following were at play? Partisan politics? Russian interference? Information Warfare? An act of war? All of the above? Or, none of the above? The articles in this latest edition of the Journal of Information Warfare cover issues and ideas as wide-ranging as the possibilities so characteristic of our current times. We hope you enjoy these papers.
Modern military operations continue to be extraordinarily susceptible to the effects of cyber-based Information Operations (IO). Within social media lies the ability to gain a clearer perspective of the 21st-century battlefields, enabling rapid and informed decision making and decisive action by commanders and their staffs. This paper discusses emerging trends, threats, and concepts that are being employed by numerous actors around the globe to gain positional advantage both internal and external to the cyberspace domain.
Cyber technologies are becoming an ever-increasing part of the portfolios of Violent Extremist Organisations (VEO). Terrorist groups use these technologies in a variety of ways, such as group decision-making, cyber-facilitated financing, broader recruitment, and propaganda dissemination. However, evaluating the actual cyber capabilities of covert organisations cannot be accomplished through conventional channels. In this study, a methodology is developed and piloted in order to rate the source code supporting public-facing web pages of terrorist organisations as a proxy for assessing the cyber-sophistication capabilities of those organisations.
The world is experiencing a continuous state of cyber insecurity. Despite continual development of cyber-security technology, the power balance between attacker and network defender has remained largely unchanged. While the cyber-security community is attempting to change this stalemate by developing active cyber-defence tactics and emphasizing cyber-threat intelligence, these efforts remain incomplete. A synthesis of the Diamond Model of Intrusion Analysis and Robert Lee’s Active Cyber Defense Cycle will demonstrate that integrating structured intelligence-analysis techniques into active cyber-defence operations has the potential to alter the power balance between attacker and defender.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a persistent cyber threat and a growing concern in computer security. This paper seeks to analyse DDoS attacks and the technologies that have been developed in an attempt to combat their effectiveness. This paper includes results from a DDoS simulation using commercial hardware appliances to both demonstrate and measure the effectiveness of DDoS attacks on a targeted victim. The simulation validates the relevance of these hardware appliances in identifying and reducing network vulnerabilities. This paper also provides insight on the current impact of DDoS attacks globally and the threat that these attacks pose in the future.
The concept of ‘critical infrastructure’ has become a key issue as far as the cyber dimension is concerned. All industrialized nation-states that depend on information and communication technologies have defined this concept or established a list of critical sectors to identify their critical infrastructures. Despite the high number of definitions, none of them considers a realistic view of a critical infrastructure as it tends to be reduced to its simple computerized dimension.
Framed by the historic 2013-2015 conflict in Ukraine—widely described by Western media as a ‘Cold-War’-style clash between the Russian Federation and the United States/NATO alliance—this qualitative case study examines how social media was used as a platform for propaganda warfare waged by clandestine bloggers and special operations commandos (known as trolls) deployed worldwide by state and non-state actors, and digitally linked and informed by data-mining, to manipulate public perceptions of the events by controlling an element of rhetoric known as narratives.
Today’s global environment has seen tremendous growth in the number of online transactions and Internet subscribers. This increase is creating a situation in which businesses are now largely dependent on information systems and their inherent technologies. The increase, however, is also causing a rise in the volume and extent of cybercrimes and security lapses.