Information Warfare: Memes that Kill

Memes are one of the most popular internet trends today. In psychology, I learned that memes are ideas that are spread through different cultures. In the world today and in the future, information warfare will utilize memes because they are potent and powerful. In the future artificial intelligence may be designed to scrape the web for information on pressing issues and generate a vast wealth of memes to target certain audience and persuade the peoples view on those issues. Since there are so many memes out there today on social media and all different kinds of internet platforms, I am not so sure that we are not in that future already. The use of phishing to make personalized memes to attack people personally could be a future problem, and computational propaganda may be able to manipulate the public opinion.

So let us say that you and one of your friends are in an argument and it is getting very heated. The more and more that you argue, the more likely you are to become enemies. Since you are fighting, your friend has some pictures of you intoxicated and decides to make a meme out of your embarrassing pictures. Your friend posts that meme all over the internet and you are so embarrassed that you decide to never talk to that friend again. That is an example of using phishing to make personalized memes to hurt someone. Now let us apply that to the election where Hillary Clinton was accused of deleting emails. If you think about it that could have been a hugely magnified phishing meme attack from the Russians. On the other hand, she could just be guilty. Information warfare is definitely a politician’s favorite choice of weaponry so always keep in mind when you see memes that it could be part of a bigger agenda.

Computational propaganda is a big part of the usage of memes on the internet these days and will be for a long time to come. Memes have been around since the beginning of the human race, maybe even longer. Persuading the public opinion could be easy with memes because everyone loves them. Maybe, just maybe if you love a meme so much that if you confront a certain issue in life and you remember that meme that made you laugh so hard with similar attributes as the issue you are facing, you might be persuaded to act according to the views of the meme. If artificial intelligence gets involved in the making of memes, that is, if it is not already, there could be huge benefits for politician with that type of meme technology. Politicians’ lives are controlled by the public opinion so information warfare could be a very beneficial platform for them.

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Information Warfare: Strategy

Strategy is key in any type of warfare that a country can engage in. So what are some strategies for information warfare? Some strategies include low entry cost, blurred traditional boundaries, expanded role for perception management, a new strategic intelligence challenge, formidable tactical warning and attack assessment problems, difficult of building and sustaining coalitions, and vulnerability of the U.S. homeland. Although those are just some of the strategies as the use of information infrastructures evolves rapidly and many other strategies come into play, I would like to elaborate on two of the strategies above that I found very compelling as I learn about information warfare. The low entry cost and the vulnerability of the U.S homeland strategies of information warfare really made me think so I will go into those particular strategies.

Firstly, the low entry cost of information warfare is quite frightening if you think about it. Since it is such a low cost to acquire access to the internet and any information associated with the internet, anybody or individual can gain access to it. That means that there must be systems in place to prevent malicious use of information. The low cost means that even the poorest of adversaries can get into the mix of information warfare. Many terrorist organizations may utilize information warfare because of the cost efficiency. When terrorists have a resource, the United States will surely combat any utility necessary to prevent terrorism from spreading. Having the ability to secure networks and internet resources from the terrorists is probably a high priority in the United States.

Another strategy is the vulnerability of the U.S. homeland, although I have my doubts to this one I should write about it. Because the internet is accessible to everyone and is such a low cost that means that anywhere on earth is a potential battleground dealing with information warfare. If that is the case than that means that, the United States is vulnerable. The United States relies on a complex network for aviation, energy, etc. There must be a quick evolving security system in place in case even our weakest adversaries try to manipulate those networks and disrupt our resources. In the future, I am sure that America will still have the most powerful information infrastructure because of insight like this into the strategies of information warfare.

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Information Warfare: Offense or Defense?

Information warfare is a big concern these days with the fast evolution of technology. Using information warfare offensively can provide an effective means of advancing foreign policy or persuade political agendas. Using information warfare in a defensive way can allow for protection of sensitive information that could potentially fall into the hands of a malicious person or government. They are just a few of the many ways that information can be used offensively or defensively in today’s world. Today we will cover some offensive uses of information warfare and some defensive uses of information warfare and why it is so important to stay ahead of your adversaries in the technological advances of information warfare.

When thinking about information warfare from an offensive standpoint, the United States has the most developed information infrastructure in the world. Using information warfare offensively in the United States could possibly be able to prevent actual physical weapons from being used in war preventing civilian deaths. On the other hand, if we used information warfare offensively we could potentially damage systems that control planes or nuclear power plants, which could potentially harm civilians. Another thing to consider while using information warfare offensively would be the case that offensively using information warfare is considered an act of war. If bombing a building or shooting down a plane is considered an act of war from one country to another, I think that shutting down a nuclear power plant and putting it in a state of meltdown could be considered an act of war. Therefore, the offensive end of information warfare can be a very complicated issue ethically and morally and as other countries information infrastructure becomes more advanced the department of defense will have to be very prepared and careful in the decision process.

From the defensive view of information warfare, of course, we have to be prepared. The United States is fully aware of the vulnerabilities of our information infrastructure and some say they fear the digital “Pearl Harbor”. Hopefully nothing extreme in the form of exploits of these vulnerabilities ever takes place. President Bush issued a national security directive 42 in 1990 recognizing the vulnerabilities and presidents thereafter have added to the directive. So the United States is prepared defensively for information warfare, as other countries become more information infrastructural sound. Being defensively prepared is the biggest concern because technology advances so quickly. Anyone can get his or her hands on malicious software, but the sensitive information is protected. Disabling access to malicious software for devious persons should be an action that the government should take.

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Weapons of Information Warfare

Information warfare is a very complex term because it can imply anything to do with any piece of information available in the world. If you think about it, there are libraries all over the world filled with information and how much information on the internet probable exceeds the amount in a library tremendously. The first weapon of Information warfare is information collection. Having information can be the turning point in any information usage scenario. Say that you bought a cabinet from the store and it did not come with instructions on how to put it together. Another person bought the same cabinet but theirs did come with instructions. You would figure that the person with the information on how to assemble the cabinet would get theirs assembled first. The same goes with information used in warfare, the ability to collect information will be advantageous to the person or entity planning to use that information.

Information transport is another weapon in information warfare. It is very useful to have a mode of transport for information. In the example above the person with the instruction to assemble the cabinet could surely assemble the cabinet faster, but what if that person left the instructions at their friends’ house. If that were the case then that person would assemble the cabinet just as fast as the person without the instructions, maybe even slower using time to find the instructions that are not available. Having a mode of transport for information that is collected is crucial in weaponizing information. Be it the internet, a network, even floppy disks, being able to get information from one place to another could be a deciding factor in using information in a war.

There is also the protection of the information used in information warfare. Any country in the world has their top-secret information that they cannot let any of their adversaries know about. Whether it be encryption or transport of information just through external drives cutting out the internet, the protection of information is crucial in information warfare. Think about an action movie where a person is transporting information in a briefcase that is handcuffed to their wrist. That is an excellent example of something that is really done with highly sensitive data for say a government contractor. Snowden leaked sensitive data, which is an example of a data breach that needs to be addressed. Those are just three of the weapons of the many used in information warfare. The world we live in will always come up with new information weapons to overcome their adversaries.

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What is Information Warfare?

Information warfare has become the latest strategy in the never-ending war machine. It is using non-lethal attacks with information to disrupt their enemies’ information systems. The anatomy of information warfare is quite interesting as its main attacks are on electronic transmission, cyber attacks, and psychological operations. The Russians are notorious for the use of information warfare to cripple their neighboring countries. One way that information warfare is used to cripple electronic transmission systems is by jamming military communications or weapon guidance systems. This can have a very disastrous effect and the military should spare no expense in preventing such attacks. It can also target civilian uses like air traffic control, which prevents two planes from crashing into each other. Another example is to attack the Rail Traffic Management system which trains are fully controlled by.

Cyber attacks are a common place for information warfare also as disrupting computers for business can have a disastrous effect on a country. Say that the stock market was victim to a cyber attack rendering the stock market useless, which would put a big dent in the financial market. A socialist country could use that kind of an attack to try to cripple capitalism to push an agenda of some sort. I am sure that the government has many teams in place to work at preventing these types of cyber attacks. In the future maybe a mind reading apparatus that flies around in the sky marking areas where deception is taking place while alerting authorities who will sweep in and subdue the criminals could prevent a cyber attack. Another thing of great concern that a cyber attack could potentially target is a nuclear power plant. That could be catastrophic if the attack could trigger some sort of melt down and render a whole area of a country useless.

Lastly, there are the psychological operations that could degrade a nation’s morale by flooding social media with fake news. I read a substantial amount of fake news on social media and the President of the United States is always warning us about fake news. Psychological operations in information warfare are a big concern in today’s world. Being that the information on the internet is available to anyone in the world these days, I am sure that people would like to assure the validity of that information. Otherwise, the world will have misinformed people with malicious views due to misinformation, which could cripple a society.

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Information Warfare: Information Warriors

In 2016, President Obama created the Global Engagement Center to battle terrorist propaganda. The Global Engagement Center has also dealt with meddling from Russia in elections. The problem is fake news because in some countries they can make false news stories illegal but in America doing something like that would collide with the first amendment. President Trump is always talking about fake news and it is a real problem. The Global Engagement Center works with social media and FBI in an effort to prevent the spreading of foreign propaganda. They have to keep up with technology and their adversaries methods to prevent terrorist propaganda. Terrorist organizations used to use videos on social media to lure in potential recruits but now they have turned to advertisements and encrypted messaging applications. There is a never-ending amount of information that these information warriors in the global engagement center have to deal with.

Russian meddling in the election process is not a new thing. They have probably been doing it for decades with spies and a whole variety of platforms. The Russians have spread false information in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries to try to persuade the people to be against the American soldiers that are stationed over there. There are a number of different strategies that information warriors can use against each other. Spreading fake news or false information seems to be a big part of what information warriors are doing. To prevent this kind of propaganda or threats from other countries in the future there would have to be a technological breakthrough that could actually read peoples’ minds or something of that sort. The future of information warfare is yet to be decided. With the technological breakthroughs, there are more warfare types and methods.

I have learned that there is a number of information warfare based institutions in the world and that multiple Presidents of the United States are trying to address the different, very complex issues with information warfare. Information Warriors being employed by the United States is a very in demand profession that needs to expand faster than the evolution of technology to be able to prevent the evolution of information warfare. Whether it is our allies or our adversaries, one of these days there will be a perfection of the use of information warfare and it will hopefully be the good people.

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Information Warfare Mimetic Warfare

Memes are pieces of information within a culture that are passed around. I have studies memes in psychology and they are a very powerful tool especially when utilized for warfare. There are probably strategies in the department of defense to utilize memes. If you use any of the social networks these days you will see that they are jammed packed with memes. Many people do not know the significance of a meme or the power that one can have over a society or culture. Is the military working on a meme warfare division? The truth is after seeing the power of memes on society and cultures that they probably have many strategies that consist of using memes to persuade the people one way or the other.

One way to stay clear of the Mimetic Warfare is to use your common sense. Many memes out there should be considered jokes. However, some of society will be offended or more gullible to feed into the information that the meme represents. In one ear and out the other is the perfect strategy for viewing memes on the internet. By the time a meme may actually get to you, it could have been altered hundreds of different ways. There is really no credibility in memes if you think of them that way even though many of them are very funny. If a meme is a crack on an issue that is very important to you then you might feel offended or start to state your views and opinions more strongly over social media which could actually be a strategy of using memes in actual warfare.

Many people have much to say about memes but the majority of them do not take the time to sit back and think of the implications of some of the memes that they are spreading. Not everyone sees everything as a joke, even though I personally thing that memes are the best going brand of jokes out there. People need to lighten up and really start to appreciate the humorous qualities of memes instead of getting bitter when the implication of the meme touches a sensitive part of your views. Memes will always be used for a certain kind of information warfare and always have been. People have been complaining about memes since papers in print first came out a long time ago.

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Politics and information warfare

Information warfare is no doubted a strategy that a weaker adversary would use to manipulate a stronger adversary. In the case of the politics in America, there is always the threat of Russian interference. There have been claims that Russia is using information warfare against the United States to interfere in the elections. Information warfare is a wide-open playing field consisting of anything to do with information. No one is safe from information warfare, you might think that a meme is funny when you read it, and it is, but that same meme could be a piece of information warfare targeted at a more gullible person. Information warfare is used heavily in social networks so being alert while reading things that are spreading around is very important.

Things with respect to the issue of social network manipulation with information warfare could evolve in a number of ways. One might someday see penalties for posting manipulating data on a social network site like community service. A policy to address this kind of issue is difficult to address because people are entitled to free speech and that is the main ingredient of information warfare. The public can get educated on this issue by following this one guideline, common sense. The far left and the far right of political parties are first in line to revolt on certain issues which makes great entertainment for the rest of us, but they lack common sense when it comes to social networking aspects. For example, lately there was a picture of President Trump coloring the American flag wrong. Now some people are saying that he does not even know what the flag looks like. However, the truth about that meme was that he was copying off the little girl next to him. It is not a big issue; it was just something funny that we can all appreciate the humor in.

My reaction to this news story was that it was interesting to read. It was an interview of a professor at a university who is suggesting that Russia meddling with the election is really a form of information warfare. He suggests that Russia floods social media with manipulating information leading to misinformed voters. I agree with him, there are many people misinformed about politics because of this kind of information warfare and like I said it all boils down to common sense.


Information warfare the heartbreaker

The heartbreaker was an information warfare attack made against the Israeli military where Hamas hackers would set up profiles on social media and entice Israeli military personnel with sex. It started out with enticing them with sex, then the hackers would try to get the soldiers to download applications on their smart phones that were really spyware, and then they would use that spyware to extract sensitive data from the soldiers phones. When Google was informed of this spyware, they removed the applications from the store. This is interesting because now I know that some applications on the Google store could potentially be spyware for military operations. There are also so many hackers in Pakistan that they have made a law for preventing hacking. If a person is killed because of this hacking, the hacker is punished by execution.

I have learned that you cannot trust any old application on the market these days. A solution to not falling victim to spyware that is on the market is to wait a while until you download the app. If you wait a while before downloading the app there is a chance that Google or the app store will remove the app before you even decide to download it. Another thing that I learned is that there are some very skilled hackers in Pakistan. According to the article that I read Pakistan has one of the largest hacker communities in the world. If you are trying to make some hacking software, you might want to hire a pakistanian.

The evolution of this kind of information warfare can result in almost anything known to humankind. They were using social engineering and the solicitation of sex to lure Israeli soldiers into a trap. The future of that can be something like actually spoofing soldiers friends whole social network profiles and luring them in while the soldier thinks that it is their friend. To prevent this kind of attack the first thing to take into account is that you should never respond to the solicitation of sex. When someone is soliciting sex to you that is a red flag right there, unless you are in Las Vegas. Computer professionals have already addressed this kind of issue by figuring out about it and reporting it to Google and the app store in which the spyware apps have been removed.


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