Is Strategic Information Warfare Really Asymmetric?: A New Perspective from the Handicap Principle

Abstract

Any communication network, whether it is a biological network (such as animal communication network) or a computer network (such as the Internet) must be reasonably reliable (honest in the case of animal signalling) in order to fulfil its mission for transmitting and receiving messages. The strategic goal of information warfare is then to destroy or defend the reliability (honesty) of communication networks. The handicap principle that governs the reliability of animal communication networks can be considered as nature’s version of an “information warfare” strategy because it is a product of natural selection. The objective of this article is to explore the potential implication of the handicap principle to strategic information warfare, which is often touted as a type of asymmetric warfare. From a comparative perspective, we argue that the handicap principle may actually contradict the principle of asymmetry in asymmetric warfare. There might be a paradox in the strategy of asymmetric warfare, and whether or not information warfare can be used as an asymmetric tool should still be an open question. From a defensive perspective, to evolve or maintain a sustainable communication network, the proper strategy should be to balance (modulate) the cooperation and competition with communication tools (including information warfare tools), which is perhaps in contradiction with the asymmetric strategy. With this perspective, we propose to extend the Sir Philip Sidney (SPS) game with a survival analysis and some agreement algorithms in order to gain further insights on the implication of the handicap principle for strategic information warfare.


AUTHORS

Computational Biology and Medical Ecology Laboratory, State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming,
China

Zhanshan (Sam) Ma is a Professor and the Director of Computational Biology and Medical Ecology Lab at Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He received double PhD degrees in Computer Science (2008) and Entomology (1997), both from the University of Idaho, USA. He is a member of London-based “Faculty of 1000 Biology and Medicine” and the editor-in-chief of Int. J. of Computational Microbiology and Medical Ecology, and Int. J. of Cyberspace Sciences and Emergency Management. Dr. Ma holds endowed professor appointments from Chinese Academy of Sciences (i.e., The 100-Talented Principal Investigators) and Yunnan Provincial Government (i.e., The Top Talents in Science and Technology), respectively. He has published over 70 peer-refereed papers in premier platforms of Computer Science and Biology such as IEEE Transactions on Reliability and Science Translational Medicine.

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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Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

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