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The Dark Sides of the Internet

On Cyber Threats and Information Warfare

Roland Heickerö

The rapid development in information technology during the last few decades has not only given us greater opportunities to freely search for information and contacts. The growth of the Internet has also created new opportunities for criminal organisations, political activists and terrorists to threaten individuals, companies and countries. Individuals and organisations are also increasingly the targets of attacks and espionage via the web. There are various kinds of illegitimate and criminal activities. Every modern state thus has to create strategies and courses of action in order to protect information, networks and computers that are vital to society from malicious cyber activities. Creating secure systems and minimising risks of information being leaked or tampered with should be a prioritised task. It is also important to understand what threats arise from the information technological revolution. The purpose of this book is to give a broad background to the development of the dark side of the internet and its consequences. It is not about scaremongering, but about creating understanding and knowledge and thus preparedness in order to handle detrimental activities. It describes the changes in progress and what they may mean to society, companies and individuals as well as to the military and police.


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Years ago, when I worked in the telecom sector for the wireless operator Telia Mobile and later on for Ericsson, I became interested in the mega change we are into to today – the information revolution. At that time mo- bile phones and the Internet were relatively new phenomena. As more and more people are getting connected to the global network and use more advanced services and applications, questions arise regarding how to secure and protect information, and information and communications systems. From having developed mobile systems, I now try to understand vulne- rabilities and security holes in networks and functions for illigetimate cyber activities and their eventual consequenses at security policy level as well as at socio-technical systems levels. This book tries to explain the growth of varied and serious phenomena on the net, the dark sides of the Internet, including the battle for information superiority, cyber terrorism, criminality and espionage as well political-ideological hacking, “hacktivism”. For fruitful discussions on different aspects of information security and cyber threats, I would like to thank my friend and co-worker Dan Larsson, senior expert at the Swedish Defence Radio Establishment. I also want to express my gratitude to “Nico” and his colleagues at the Swedish Armed Forces for their profound knowledge and stringency within the field. Lars Nicander, head of the Center for Asymmetrical Threats and Terrorism Stu- dies (CATS) at the Swedish National Defence College, deserves great praise for his expertise and his neverending will to convey insights and knowledge on this...

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