Information or cyber warfare | Information Systems homework help


Information or cyber warfare is computer related attacks which are guided towards information and information systems for the purposes of causing terror. Many of the cyber crimes are politically instigated and they are carried out by clandestine groups targeting non combatant groups. Enemies can collect information so as to have a competitive advantage over their foes, especially on matters of security (Van Niekerk & Maharaj, 2011). A good example of information warfare was the denial-of –service (DOS) attacks by Russia on Estonia in 2007 and on Georgia in 2008.
The greatest risk that any information warfare can pose is infrastructural risk. Countries all over the world are highly dependent on technology to carry out services such as communication, transport, electrical grid, and manufacturing facilities. For instance, Estonia is one of the most internet dependent countries in the provision of services to the citizens; this made the country highly vulnerable to Russian cyber attacks on their systems. The first area that was affected by these attacks was the government websites, where traffic was used to bombard the websites so people could be denied service. The other greatly affected areas in Estonia were the news publications as they could not convey information internationally because their systems were jammed. The banking system was greatly affected by the attacks, people could not access all the online services of banks, and the debit cards for banks, especially Hansbank, could not be used inside and outside the country. According to Lewis (2014) from a military strategic perspective, attacks that do not degrade national capabilities are not significant. This shows how information warfare can disrupt national services that are dependent on information systems. Other critical infrastructures that can be attacked are dams that can disrupt water supplies, and air traffic.
Information warfare poses a security risk in any country. Cyberwarfare is not all about disruption and destroying of information but involves hacking information systems to obtain confidential information. This action can lead to personal, institutional and national security risk issues. Hackers can access the information about prominent people and use it against them for political or any other gain. Personal information that can be useful to hackers include photos, business document, bank documents etc. In an institutional level information can be obtained for the purposes of competition or tarnishing the image of the company. One of the most important information that can be stolen from an organizations database is the trade secrets which can be used by competitors to gain a competitive advantage. All the countries around the world are faced with security risks that are caused by cyber warfare. Currently the United States is more concerned by cyber warfare more than terrorism. The United States spends an average of $ 300 billion on issues related to cyber warfare (Schwartau, 1994). Clandestine groups can infiltrate a country’s security systems in a bid to obtain information that can be helpful to them. The information can be used to improve the security strategies of the enemy, know the strategies that are being employed by the target country in order to device counteractive measures. The hackers can also infiltrate national security systems to obtain technological information that can be useful to the enemy.
Many of the information warfare are based around infrastructural and security issues, but there are other groups that are concerned with economic issues. In his book, Libicki (1995) defines economic information warfare as channeling or blocking information to pursue economic dominance. Libicki says that trade is war; competitors would go to any length to ensure that they monopolize the information they have. Economic information warfare is practiced through economic imperialism and economic blockade. Disruption and blocking of information flow to a specific territory is known as economic blockade. In 2007, Estonia was cut from external information flow and this adversely affected the economy of the country, especially the financial institutions. Many countries depend on foreign trade, and an attack on its information in terms of information blockade can prove to be catastrophic to the economy. Economic imperialism is created by the war between countries in establishing information networks in order to dominate strategic economic industries.
Jones, Kovacich & Luzwick (2002) categorized systems used to curb information warfare into six categories i.e., education and training, policy, doctrine, assessment, organizational infrastructure, and technology. These are the areas that are used today in the war against information warfare. After the devastating effects of the denial of service attacks on Estonia, the country embarked on several measures that have been effective in protecting the country’s information systems against cyber warfare. The country increased its preparedness against similar attacks by mapping its critical information structure, by doing so, the country came up with a cyber defense infrastructure that has been difficult for the Russians or any other enemy to penetrate since 2007. The country was able to train citizens of the country who hold crucial IT positions to increase the survivability of their information systems and educate individuals against similar attacks. The country established a state information agency that comprises of a cyber defense department, national computer emergency response team and critical infrastructure department (Ackerman, 2014).
For the attacks in Georgia, they increased information sharing between the government and the private sector; this has enabled the private sector to point out vulnerable points in the information systems and come up with a collaborative effort on how to deal with identified issues. In order to handle cybersecurity threats effectively and solve security threat issues, the government of Georgia established the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), which has overseen policy implementations and continuous improvement of Georgia’s cyber defenses. The doctrine for information operations comprises principles for both for both offensive and defensive information operations and deals with organization, responsibilities, coordination between levels of command, planning considerations, integration and de-confliction of activities and intelligence support (Jones, Kovacich & Luzwick, 2002).

The United States has also not been spared by the jaws of information warfare. In 2006, the Chinese allegedly broke into the State Department’s computer system seeking information related to China and North Korea. Not much damage was realized with respect to information loss as only a few unclassified information was taken. The United States increased information sharing between government and private institutions; this was boosted by President Obama signing an executive order to increase the information sharing, this reduced incidences of such magnitude in the United States.
Identity theft occurs when a clandestine group gets sufficient information of an individual and they are able to use it for impersonation. Cybercrime is directly linked to identity theft, even though not all the information obtained by identity thieves is stolen online. Cybercrimes are used to obtain even secure information online and manipulated for different gains. People are increasingly storing their personal information online and this has increased the vulnerability of such information being stolen. The most common issue of identity theft is the government documents or benefits frauds. People such as immigrants or terrorists can obtain the information of any individual such as social security number and addresses to obtain government documents such as licenses. These documents can also be used by drug traffickers in conducting their illegal activities. These impersonated government documents are used by criminals to obtain government benefits such as travel state lines.

The second most prominent means used by identity thieves is the credit cards. The criminals can access the personal information of a credit card holder and open a new credit card with the details or actually get access to the credit card if one loses it. The criminals accumulate monthly bills for an individual without knowing, leaving them unable to pay the accrued bills. An individual can take even more than two years without knowing his information is being used by another credit card; this has seen the damage of credit scores of many individuals. Sometimes these criminals access the information from installing skimming devices in ATM machines that are in obscure areas. Criminals use health insurance information for an insurance holder and pile up medical bills for medical treatments one never had.

Phone and utility bills form a big part of the bills in many homes; criminals can change the address form using an individual’s personal information. The criminals use this information to open multiple accounts and rack up unpaid utility and phone bills. Fraudsters can use impersonation for employment purposes; they can use the security number to gain employment because of their bad track record in employment. This can ruin the track record of the genuine owner by providing future misleading information. A loan fraud is similar to a credit card fraud where an individual can obtain a loan using another person’s information therefore leaving him with the loan repayment burden.

E-commerce companies conduct most of their operation online through websites, and they are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. These companies have become more secure over the years due to the increase in information sharing and collaboration between different sectors. Most of the security breaches emanate from the end-user’s side because of inadequate knowledge. E-commerce companies are using secure socket layer authentication in securing their communication with their clients. The companies are securing the payments by using merchants who are PCI compliant. The E-commerce companies keep a limited amount of data concerning their clients as they regularly purge old customer records. Companies have installed multiple security layers such as firewalls, secure password logins, etc to prevent cybercrimes. Most of the websites are signed up to denial of service protection with cloud based to prevent any unwanted traffic. The companies have resulted in training their clients on how they can improve security issues on their end.

E-bay is a company that provides sales services online around the world for different products. Just like any other e-commerce company, the company is faced with issues of cybercrime. The clients of e-bay pay for their services online, and this poses a threat to their personal information being hacked. E-bay has a team that inspects breaches from other companies and looks at the strengths and weakness of their company in comparison with the other company. E-bay advises their consumers not to re-use their passwords because this increases the chances of social engineering. The company stresses that the most important password is the email password because hackers can use it to obtain all the other passwords. Customers should be careful with what they do with their email and response to emails (azcentral, 2015). E-bay ensures secure payment of their clients through Apple play, and they have provided multiple layers of security protection in their website.

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