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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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The Superpowers


Information warfare is by no means a new phenomenon in history; it is as old as mankind. Manipulation, deception, eavesdropping, saturation, with- holding and destruction of information for a specific purpose and aim are part of human behaviour. Through the years, information has been used in different ways in military, socio-economic and political contexts in order to influence both opponents, own forces and compatriots. The introduction of information technology – computers, the Internet and mobile communica- tions – opens up for the development of new means and methods both when it comes to influencing third parties and protecting information and information systems. From a modern perspective, information warfare is based on a blend of ideas, theories and concepts, prompted by various security policy environ- ments, situations and contexts. To a large extent it depends on the technol- ogical development. A number of thinkers and analysts – particularly from Russia and the United States, but also from China – have contributed with ideas. However, it is important to stress that there is no single universal theory defining information warfare; leading nations with ambitions develop their own ideas and concepts on what should be included in the term and how different resources can and should be used. All the superpowers men- tioned attribute information warfare a growing importance and in some cases a decisive role in present and future conflicts. Every large military and political conflict contains some kind of cyber component. Network centric warfare One of the first persons to point out the paradigmatic shift...

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