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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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Let’s remind ourselves of one of Sun Tzu’s stratagems. In order to create your own strategies and attitudes, you have to know your enemy and what methods and tricks he might use. During the Cold War you knew who the enemy was, you knew his capacity, but not when an attack could occur. In the age of information warfare and cyber threats it is difficult to know who the enemy is, what kind of resources he might have and his underlying motives. There is a struggle for information and the right to use it. Using the theories of von Clausewitz on the friction of war, the cyber mist is getting thicker. Information can be intercepted, disrupted, manipulated, distorted and de- stroyed, for a certain purpose or somebody’s intentions and beliefs. And it is being done. This book describes a number of phenomena of more or less serious kind, which occur and increase in magnitude because of the information technological revolution. The paradigmatic shift, as of the origin of a new logic and new kinds of behaviour, has a fundamental impact on societal structures. The world is being connected into an enormous net of networks where information can be disseminated to everybody. We are just in the early phases of the process. Basically the change is very positive, but as with everything it also brings new kinds of risks. This means new chal- lenges to handle. In order to reduce threats and vulnerabilities when it comes to malicious activities in cyberspace,...

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