Volume 22, Issue 1

Volume 22, Issue 1 Editorial

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Winter 2023

Early in May, 2022, the editor suggested that we have an issue on current conflicts, especially in the Ukraine and in the South China Sea. This special issue should be published in January 2023 to ensure the material was about a current situation. This is not much time normally from concept to full paper, but a number of potential authors were approached. Some could make the deadline; some could not. The end results were the papers in this edition. It was quite a challenge to produce an academic level paper about a current and dynamic situation without slipping into commentary and journalistic style. The papers that are in this edition are mostly about the situation in Ukraine, as this was the situation that was most dynamic in the later part of 2022. So, the idea was to provide the discipline of Information Warfare (IW) and its spin offs in real time—to make it realistic to the practice of real IW activity.

Entering the Firing Line: How Civilians Become Legitimate Targets in War as Technology Becomes a Double-Edged Sword


The Ukraine-Russia conflict has raised important questions about when an adversary can target civilians. Under the rules of war set out in the Geneva Conventions and associated international agreements, there is a clear distinction between combatants and non-combatants and how each should be treated. The ease of access to cheap technology, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) that can be adapted to be military assets, has encouraged some civilians to become combatants. As such, they can be legitimately targeted; such targeting does, however, have limitations. This article examines the legal and technical issues arising from the use of drones by civilians in an armed conflict.

The Evolution of Information Warfare in Ukraine: 2014 to 2022


In January 2022, Russian forces began building up on the Ukrainian border prior to entering Ukraine in what was termed a ‘special military operation’ in support of ethnic Russians. In the ten months of conflict, there has been a range of information warfare tactics deployed, most notably disinformation and cyber operations. Ukraine is a particularly useful case study due to the ongoing tensions and low-intensity conflict, since the social media-led uprisings and annexation of Crimea in 2014. This article conducts an analysis of the information warfare in the Russo-Ukraine conflict, and contrasts this to prior operations to illustrate the evolution, limitations, and possible future of information warfare during a kinetic conflict.

Russia’s Misinformation Campaign during Wartime: The Threat to Deploy Nuclear Weapons against Ukraine and Her Allies


Russia has historically employed deception, misinformation/disinformation, propaganda, active measures, and information operations to dissuade and limit state actors from pursuing courses of actions that challenge the Kremlin’s political and military objectives. Misinformation is non-kinetic and both informs and assists Russia’s military strategy. Communication platforms with global reach spread state-sponsored misinformation to influence, shape, and limit Western political and military responses against Russia’s war in Ukraine. That Kremlin’s stated willingness to deploy tactical and strategic nuclear weapons against Ukraine and the West follows narratives that generate doubt and uncertainty regarding the true intentions of Russian state behaviour.

The Evolution of Chinese Cyber Offensive Operations and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)


The increasing level of confrontation evident in global affairs and competition between different political philosophies are being fought across a broad spectrum of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic areas. Russia, China, and Iran are just three examples of nations which represent alternative forms of government and governance that have employed both kinetic and non-kinetic tools to achieve influence and to compete with the interests of other nations and political ideologies. This paper focuses on the employment of Chinese cyber offensive operations to achieve strategic objectives in the Southeast Asian region, aligned to the Made in China 2025 and 14th Five Year Plans. It examines the structure and nature of Chinese cyber operations as they have evolved over the past seven years.

Cyber Warfare and War in Ukraine


Today cyberspace is a one military domain. The new cyber capacities of armed forces create new possibilities to achieve the goals of war. These new and advanced cyber capabilities are a part of the new non-kinetic environment where cyber operations are used in combination with information warfare (IW) and electronic warfare (EW). These non-kinetic operations are used with lethal weapons systems to produce an operational advantage. This article is a preliminary review of cyber operations in the Ukraine conflict. The article reviews the balance between defense and offense in cyberspace, the utility of offensive cyber operations, and the requirements for effective cyber defence.

Cyber Offensive Operations in Hybrid Warfare: Observations from the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict


The role of cyber offensive operations has been under increasing attention in the recent Russo-Ukrainian conflict. The interaction between Russia and Ukraine provides many important insights to the future of hybrid conflict, incorporating cyber offensive operations. There are contextual factors related to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict which require assessment before enduring lessons can be developed. The technical nature of cybersecurity and the constant evolution of both technology and geopolitical affairs mean that each conflict is likely to require an assessment against specific criteria before a stable theory of cyber offensive operations can be captured in the context of hybrid and kinetic warfare. The seven factors presented within this paper are intended to assist future researchers to build a theory of cyber offensive operations, when more data comes to light in future hybrid conflicts.

The Impact of Russian Cyber Attackers within the Ukraine Situation


On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. The Russo-Ukrainian War is the largest war in Europe since World War II. The aim of the paper is to look at how politically motivated hacking by Russia has been used as part of the Ukraine situation with a focus on the different attack types since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The paper will focus on the different groups acting on behalf of Russia, their actions, and techniques. The paper will discuss what their actions mean for the future of cyber conflicts.

Journal of Information Warfare

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.

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The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.


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