Computer Security Research Paper

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Computer Security

Information Warfare (IW) is one of the latest forms of threats that poses great security risk to the national peace and order in the U.S. In this paper we present an analysis of all the emerging trends of information warfare. Our goal is to formulate appropriate recommendations and strategies for mitigating the risks associated with this new form of threat. In our study we present various literatures that are dedicated to the context of Information Warfare. An identification of all the vulnerable points in the institutional and governmental infrastructure is also presented. The overall goal is to ensure that our nation and the world as a whole is protected from the dangers associated with cyber terrorism.

Introduction

The modern world heavily relies on the use of computers in ensuring several demands are met and tasks completed. Computers are useful in a number of industries such as in the telecommunications, financial, manufacturing, transport, sales and marketing industries among many others. In addition, computers are used a lot for social purposes such as networking across the world. The application of Information Technology concepts has made it possible for the above industries and many others are run both effectively and efficiently. The nature of interconnections available among various facilities and the backbone on which they are based on provides an open opportunity and subjection to many attacks through the network. These facilities and backbone should therefore be protected and shielded against any forms of Information warfare that occur via cyber terrorist network attacks (Lawson, 2010).

As a matter of fact, cyber terrorism is defined by Dorothy E. Dennig as 'unauthorized and illegal attacks on networks, computers and the information stored therein when done out of malicious or damaging intentions. To a large extent, to be classified as cyber terrorism, attacks results should indicate damage of someone's reputation and property or to a large extent it should result in fear. Examples would be attacks such as death, explosives, contamination of water, airspace crashes.' (Browning, 2001).

We intend to clearly show the emerging ways of information warfare and as a result come up with the best possible ways of mitigating the effects of information warfare over our nation.

Information warfare is composed of two sections which include: Defensive and Offensive information warfare. Defensive protects information from attacks from outside and changes that can be made to the information. On the other hand, offensive information warfare protects information from the defence. There are various forms of information warfare as which include the following forms: command-and-control warfare (C2W), electronic warfare (EW), psychological operations, (PSYOPS), intelligent-based (IBW), information economic warfare (IEW) and Hacker-war which is software based as demonstrated by Libicki (1995)

Each of the above forms needs different rules of engagements, objectives and methodologies.

US national infrastructure is very important to the nation and thus the call for the need to protect it from network attacks. Without proper protection from network attacks, the whole nation's business activities and the running of the government could be in jeopardy. This would expose the nation's security in danger (Lawson, 2010).

The following are the main forms of information warfare as pointed out by Libicki (1995).

1. command-and-control warfare

2. electronic warfare

3. intelligence-based

4. psychological operations

5. . information economic warfare

6. Hacker-war- this type if IW is a software based and is waged against various information systems

All forms of IW are unique in their forms of attack and therefore require that unique and elaborate techniques be employed in the process of mitigating their effects or entirely avoiding them.

The information technology infrastructure is an integral part of various states. This is because of the varied nature of activities that are heavily reliant upon it. The various forms of network attacks must therefore be effectively mitigated in order to ensure that there is no any kind of disruption to the various important activities necessary to run a country.

Emerging trends

The field of information warfare has been evolving with time. The current trends include the use of sophisticated devices and software that are aimed at disrupting or stealing of confidential information of various computer systems. Below are a just afew of the emerging trends in information warfare.

Steganography

This is the art of hiding written messages. The emergence of computer technology has seen steganography taken to a brand new level. Terrorist are able to effectively use images to hide messages as portrayed in the recent case of Russian spies arrested in the U.S. By the FBI (wired.com, 2010)

Literature review

Moore (2004) focuses on the various means that battlefield military officers can be prepared for war by means of strategic modeling of threats. This is through the identification of the various possible threats using a computer generated virtual battlefield, which could be integral in predicting the real events on the battlefield. There are various major steps that are used as part of this system to involve the following: definition and modeling of the virtual battlefield scenario, identification of possible threats, consulting of various departments as well as with superior officers in order report the various threats, characterization of the threat risks as well as the determination of level and type of the adversary. Moore uses qualitative as well as constructive approach in order to achieve the research objectives. The information obtained can effectively be used in order to come up with a standard system that can be used by the military personnel in the identification of various possible risks as well as the methods of to isolating the risks that are involved while executing various forms of attacks and counter-attacks These elements will help to effectively create countermeasure. The overall goal however, is to come up with ways of mitigating the various the possible undesirable of informational warfare.

(Cobb, 1999) carried out an analysis that was aimed at showing the various domains of civilian infrastructure that are most at risk of being attacked by cyber terrorists. The areas discussed .In this study Cobb focuses on the energy sector as a main target by cyber terrorists. His reason behind his choice of the energy industry is the fact that the energy sector infrastructure has over time been computerized in an effort to improve its efficiency. Cobbs provides an elaborate analysis which points out the various choke points that can be used by the various cyber terrorist in coming up with an attack on the energy distribution infrastructure. His analysis is however concentrated in Australian energy sector. His aim was to come up with a quantitative approach of the effects of a Information Warfare on the civilians caused by a disruption the Information technology infrastructure used in the distribution of energy in Australian. His study shown that there are various vulnerability points (choke points ) that cyber terrorists can use in coming up with a successful cyber terrorist actions against the society.

Diebert (2010) came up with study that was aimed at identifying the various physical risks that are caused by the use of technology in perpetrating information warfare.His study also identified the factors that could escalate the possibility of technology being utilized in the perpetration of information warfare. He points out that this happens are a result and the following will manifest:

Various nations would make claim that they are working together and in harmony to come up with a solution to the problem at hand (IW).

He pointed out that the moment these issues interfere with issues such as politics and national sovereignty then several states start to withdraw their support.

Diebert uses a qualitative approach in order to complete his evaluation. The significance of this is that it exposes the otherwise invisible lack of corporation between the states in the various issues related to information warfare.

Knapp (2006) comes up with an analysis of the role of information warfare in various areas of the society and the nation. His study ranges from the study of the effects of Information warfare on the military to various corporations. In order to come up with a clear illustration of the transformation, Knapp takes into account several factors. These include;

Incidents related to computer security that he noted to be on the rise

The ease with which various forms of information warfare/cyber attacks can be perpetrated

A sharp rise in the number of countries with the capability to launch information warfare as well as defend themselves from the same

The rise in percentage of reliance on information technology

The increase in the cases of technology espionage by various organized crime rings

Knapp (2006) uses a qualitative approach in order to evaluate his study. Empirical methods are also used. The significance of this is that it helps in showing how a major paradigm shift has occurred in the way information warfare is conducted. His study also shows how major corporations are increasingly becoming targets of information warfare. The finding of this research helps in proving how much of problem information warfare is to the corporate world.

Molander (1996) studies the various… [END OF PREVIEW]

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