Perception Management

The Theory of Transitional Target Defence: A New Approach to Enhancing Cyber Deception


There have been many different approaches to implementing deceptive devices, but it is the contention of this paper that fundamentally every incarnation suffers from the same issue: it remains a deceptive device. As the use of deceptive devices has increased, attackers have become more aware of the threat they pose and have become more adept at detecting deceptive devices. This paper presents a new approach to enhancing cyber deception called Transitional Target Defence (TTD). TTD does not present a deceptive device for an attacker to reconnoitre but rather allows interaction with targets until the exploitation phase. Once the hostile traffic is detected, the attacker is redirected to a deceptive device. The authors discuss the utility of this technique in this paper and the increased complexity of the psychological theatre that comes with it.

(Mis)Information Operations: An Integrated Perspective


The massive diffusion of social media fosters disintermediation and changes the way users are informed, the way they process reality, and the way they engage in public debate. The cognitive layer of users and the related social dynamics define the nature and the dimension of informational threats. Users show the tendency to interact with information adhering to their preferred narrative and to ignore dissenting information. Confirmation bias seems to account for users’ decisions about consuming and spreading content; and, at the same time, aggregation of favored information within those communities reinforces group polarization.

Belief Systems, Information Warfare, and Counter Terrorism


This paper defines Counter Terrorism within a risk management and information warfare framework, using risk analyses based upon an understanding of Belief Systems.  An understanding of how people make crucial (life threatening) ethical decisions is important to reducing the likelihood and the impact of terrorist acts.  This understanding can come from analyzing and modeling the complex systems that make up the Belief Systems of terrorists and of the targets of terrorists. Counter Terrorism analysts can use these Belief Systems Models to identify key influences or relationships in Belief Networks and apply information warfare strategies to exploit or prevent events arising from crucial ethical decisions made by terrorist organizations, creating immunity in targeted societies.

The ‘Flexibility’ of Official Information During Contemporary Conflicts


This paper examines perception management as practiced by governments and the militaries of Western nations since 1980. It examines this topic using the framework of a simple model of information. Basically, it defines information as that product formed when data meets cognition. Contemporary conflicts and their associated information campaigns are examined. It postulates about the impact these practices will have on the democratic process in these nations.

A Critique of Coalition Propaganda Before the Second Gulf War


This paper investigates and critiques the propaganda emanating from the main players in the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ (USA, UK, and Australia) in the three months before the invasion of Iraq. It outlines the US-led information campaign and analyses its successes and failures.

The Image of Unanimity: The Utility of the Promotion and Disparagement of Cultural and Social Unanimity as a Form of Context Manipulation in Information Warfare in the Aftermath of the Attacks of September 11, 2001


In this paper we examine the use of context manipulation as an offensive information warfare strategy with particular reference to the specific strategies related to assertions of cultural unity or disunity in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City. The competing rhetoric of the Bush administration and Osama bin Laden’s organization is studied. Success criteria are proposed for context manipulation through assertions of unity and disunity. Examples of successful and failed attempts to manipulate information context are studied to verify the proposed criteria.

Perception Management in the Art of War. A Review of Finnish War Propaganda and Present-Day Information Warfare


Perception management is integral to the art of war. Skillful use of information warfare, psychological operations and propaganda is problematic, however. Based on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s theory of perception and the practical examples presented in this article – the Finnish Winter War and the war on terrorism – it can be held that perception and its interpretation can never be certain. If perceptions are manufactured, they can become counter-productive. The way in which perceptions arise is characterized by dynamism. According to Mzerleau-Ponty, there is always a middle ground between us and the enemy, a field that distorts and limits our view of the enemy. Therefore, in this article we propose that we can direct propaganda only towards ourselves.

Shaping the ‘Information Space’


Perception Management is a key component of Information Operations. This article presents a taxonomy of Perception Management, which is seen as comprising five principal sub-elements: Public Affairs, Public Diplomacy, Psychological Operations, Deception, and Covert Action. While these are traditional activities, the author argues that they generally have not been employed well and in a synergistic fashion by the Western Powers since the Second World War. The article suggests an approach to foreign political-military challenges in terms of ‘Shaping the Information Space’ as an organising principle of policy and the application of power in the international arena. In order to undertake such an enterprise, the Allied nations require improved understanding of the psychology of adversaries and neutrals, as well as one’s own friends and allies.

Perception Management and the ‘War’ Against Terrorism


This article challenges the popular view that 'propaganda' - here defined in a value- neutral sense - is an inappropriate activity for democratic governments. Indeed, it suggests that it is essential for the 'perception management' elements of the war against terrorism. It argues that we are in a new Cold War type of situation in which our very ideas and values are under attack, and therefore must be defended, albeit within a democratic tradition. The ability of the western democracies to succeed in not just defending, but in actively promoting their value systems over 'the long haul', may even determine the final outcome. Accordingly, great care needs to be taken at both the tactical and the strategic levels of information operations, although the theory is sometimes belied by the practice.

The Offence of Strategic Influence: Making the Case for Perception Management Operations


In the ongoing ‘War against Terrorism’, it is absolutely vital that the Perception
Management campaign of the United States and its allies be coordinated at the highest possible level, resourced adequately and executed effectively. With the demise of the Office of Strategic Influence within the Pentagon, there is currently no central focus for, or high- level coordination of, Perception Management operations. The individuals tasked with undertaking this activity also lack the necessary skills required to formulate target- appropriate messages and the means needed to deliver such messages to their intended audience. 

Information Operations, Public Diplomacy & Spin: The United States & the Politics of Perception Management


The evolution of Information Operations doctrine in the United States is placing more weight upon Perception Management, particularly at the strategic level. This paper argues that if such Perception Management efforts are to be effective they will need to work in conjunction with the State Department and its associated agencies and with the President's communication staff. Such collaboration will require overcoming institutional boundaries and different concepts of what Perception Management involves. This paper examines the place of perception management within military IO doctrine before looking at current debates over the place of public diplomacy in contemporary foreign policy and looking at the role of the White House communications organisation in international perception management.

Waging Public Relations: A Cornerstone of Fourth-Generation Warfare


This paper examines one of the least-understood elements of Information Operations – public affairs. Rather than focusing, however, on traditional military approach to public affairs, it examines how corporations have embraced public relations during the past decade, aggressively pursuing positive coverage that helps win consumer hearts and minds. This article will outline the basic PR techniques and tactics that have been employed in the business world over the past decade. It will show how companies develop messages and marketing plans; evaluate audiences; and disseminate these messages. And it will show how Information Warriors can rapidly and successfully adapt these techniques to an I/O environment. The paper will also outline methods for applying these consumer PR techniques in an IO environment. Most elements of Information Operations doctrine have come a long way in the past ten years, both as a theoretical science and as a practical exercise. 

Who’s in Control? Contemporary Audience-Media Relations and their Implications for Perception Management


The production of media content and meaning has traditionally been considered the sole preserve of media professionals, or producers. As such, in attempting to understand the nature, or potential influential quality of the media, it has largely been thought that the role of the audience is of little consequence. However, research clearly indicates that the audience plays a critical role in constructing the meaning of the information to which they have exposure (Newman, Just and Crigler, 1992; Philo,1993). This fact has only gained recognition as a result of a shift in the way in which mediation and communication has been conceptualised and studied. More contemporary approaches to audience-media relations that have adopted a greater audience-centric approach have shown that media transmission is only half the story. Audiences are, and have always been, active rather than passive consumers of information, and as new technology affords even greater interactive possibilities, the distinction between the producer and the receiver is becoming increasingly blurred and re-defined.

Improving Cyber-Security Awareness on Industrial Control Systems: The CockpitCI Approach


Cyber-threats are one of the most significant problems faced by modern Industrial Control Systems (ICS), such as SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, as the vulnerabilities of ICS technology become serious threats that can ultimately compromise human lives. This situation demands a domain-specific approach to cyber threat detection within ICS, which is one of the most important contributions of the CockpitCI FP7 project ( Specifically, this paper will present the CockpitCI cyber-detection and analysis layer, including a description of its components, in terms of role, operation, and remote management.

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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