Balwan Nagial
Balwan Nagial

Information warfare and terrorism

The issue of information has always been a significant characteristic of power, diplomacy, and armed conflict. Information about the enemy and one’s destructive competencies is the prerequisite for success in battle. The eventual goal must be to win a war without fighting battles due to information dominance (Sun Tzu 400–320 BC). Information Warfare is the tactical and strategic usage of information to obtain a benefit, and this includes numerous types of operations followed in diverse methods at different times. Information warfare is also branded as cyberwarfare, electronic warfare and cyberattack. Information Warfare was in use in previous times also. Aeroplanes would cover villages or towns with leaflets or materials as part of foreign policy implementation throughout the industrial age. As the industrial age advanced to radio and television, this type of media was utilised in Information Warfare.

These days, almost all pertinent implementations encompass digital media. The examples of recent information warfare include offensive strategies to invade or shamble an enemy’s IT assets and efforts to protect IT systems in contradiction of cyberattacks. Generally, the kinds of information warfare consist of:

  • Employing viruses or malware for cyberattacks
  • Manipulating holes in a network
  • Pilferage of information through different types of illegal access

Information Warfare was first developed in the military and political domain but has become highly aggressive and widespread due to technological development. Furthermore, is this day and age utilised as an instrument to realize goals in all spheres of society. Leading countries even mix this technique into their national policies and strategies for achieving their political goals. The transformation of Information Warfare into Cyberspace has led to combining two of the most hazardous and least probed forms of criminality, i.e. Cybercrime and Organised crime. So the dilemma is how to protect ourselves from these crimes?

Globally we have been evading this problem, and Information Warfare was ignored entirely. The lack of regulation and the determination to usher command/directive to this area has fashioned a state of affairs in which anyone can use Cybercrime techniques to advance information power.

The abundance of information and the eruption of Information Technology is the operator, redesigning all social, political, cultural, and economic life structures. The effects of the information revolution are particularly profound in the realm of national security strategy.

Different types of Information Warfare The method of Information Warfare is the technique of its revelation. It is articulated through the assembly of actions and doings connected to the procedures in it. So the form of Information Warfare is a unique feature that differentiates it from other forms of warfare. As per the documents available on Information Warfare(IW), there are more opinions on the methods of its appearance, the most extensive perceptions being those of eminent experts from that area, Schwartau and Libbicky’s.

Winn Schwartau classifies information warfare (Petrović, 2001) into three groups:

1) Personal information warfare;

2) Corporate information warfare;

3) Global information warfare

According to Martin Libicki (Libicki, 1995), Information Warfare happens in the following forms:

1) Warfare in the sphere of command and control;

2) Intelligence warfare;

3) Electronic warfare;

4) Psychological warfare;

5) Hacker warfare;

6) Economic-information warfare;

7) Cyberwarfare

Altogether, these types are interconnected, mainly hacker warfare and cyber warfare that are not completely differentiated.

Information age and terrorism. Terrorism would transform in the times to come. Information Warfare (IW) is the contemporary burning topic for the military and Command and Control Warfare (C2W). These two ideas that some contend would generate a Revolution in Military Activities. These concepts also recommend the possibility of a Revolution in Terrorism Activities. This might take three diverse forms as Conventional terrorism, Technoterrorism, and Cyberterrorism. While conservative terrorism would still rely on physical violence, terrorist acquisition of high technology information warfare competencies would change the tactics fixated on disruption rather than destruction. Information age terrorism, while enduring to use conventional weapons, would also engagement weapons radically changed from that hand-me-down in conventional terrorism. However, this move to disruption in Cyberspace, the usage of new weapons and without using violence in the physical world might force a redescription of the classic conception of terrorism.

Cyberterrorism denotes the usage of IW tactics and techniques by terrorist organizations to disturb Cyberspace. The cyberterrorist would operate entirely within Cyberspace and would not materially destroy any of the assets. While cyberterrorists influence the actions of real people in the real world, they function within the virtual world of Cyberspace to handle these performers. Accordingly, if Cyberterrorists wanted to affect a telephone system or an electric grid, they would attack the computers monitoring the system and not its physical mechanisms.

Weapons available for Cyberterrorism. Paul Strassmann notes that, with the skill resident in these groups, several risks to computer systems exist:

Pest Programs

  • Trojan horse attacks- implanting malicious code, sending letter bombs.
  • Logic bombs-setting time or event bombs
  • Malevolent worms- denying access to distributed resources
  • Virus Attacks- attaching code to programs and replicating it


  • Backdoor attacks- using existing flaws in software for exploitation
  • Authorisation attacks- password cracking, hacking control files

Active Misuse

  • Creating, modifying, denying service, entering false or misleading data
  • Incremental attacks- using salami tactics
  • Denials of service- launching saturation attacks

Passive Misuse

  • Browsing- reading and copying with apparent authorisation
  • Interference, aggregation- exploiting database searches, traffic analysis
  • Indirect misuse- preparing for subsequent misuses, off-line pre-encryption matching, factoring numbers to obtain crypto keys, autodialer and voice-mail scanning.


Conclusion. The fast developments in the arenas of Information Systems overall and Information Technology have greatly influenced the social and economic facets of the populace and nations. As an expected consequence, these areas have also changed the aspect of inter-nations fights. The entire perception of individual and national security has experienced deep-seated changes. Information has become an asset.

Information supremacy has become the fundamental issue of rivalry both in peace as well as in war. The world’s developed countries have shaped a national information infrastructure, including the military information systems, so powerful and cutting-edge that it can be used as a strategic deterrent. The world’s developing nations are also striving hard to improve their Information assets, both civil and military. The IT empowered War form, popularity known as IW, has transformed the guidelines of warfare. Nevertheless, for the developing nations, there is one most crucial obstacle, i.e. cost factor. However, the significance of the introduction of the Information system remains dominant.  We may have to evolve a pragmatic strategy to develop a cost-effective information system that can meet security requirements, especially during warfare. In future conflicts amongst nations in the information age, what will be the conflict spectrum?

About the Author
Colonel Balwan Nagial retired from the Indian Army in 2019 after serving for thirty years. Managed administration, security, project mgt throughout his service. He loves writing and contributing in newspapers and magazines in India. He loves Israeli culture.
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