REVIEW: "World War 3: Information Warfare Basics", Fred Cohen
- BKWW3IWB.RVW 20060823
"World War 3: Information Warfare Basics", Fred Cohen, 2006,
%A Fred Cohen fred.cohen at all dot net
%C 572 Leona Dr, Livermore, CA 94550
%I Fred Cohen and Associates
%O 925-454-0171 all.net
%O Audience n+ Tech 2 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 314 p.
%T "World War 3: Information Warfare Basics"
Chapter one asserts that world war 3 is not what most people think it
is or will be, and that it is going on right now. (There is also a
fairly extensive biography of Dr. Cohen.) A definition of information
warfare (or iwar) is the province of chapter two. Cohen starts with
the notion that warfare itself is a high-intensity conflict, and then
notes that iwar is the manipulation (and protection) of symbolic
representations used by the participants in such a conflict. Numerous
instances and examples of iwar are explored, and the definition
certainly fits all the forms noted. At the same time, it must be said
that the definition, while comprehensive, does not appear to assist in
formulating responses to the problem. (The mention of marketing as a
form of low-intensity iwar is intriguing. I recall a conversation,
with an ex-employee of the CIA, as it happens. This person had just
encountered the proposal that advertising agencies deliberately used,
and reinforced, certain symbols that were associated with specific
meanings and emotions. Being part of the direct target audience he
had never noticed the practice while I, as an outsider, was just far
enough away from the central culture to have observed it for years.)
Cohen finally points out that we are all at war, on an information
level, with everyone else.
Chapter three examines the intensity levels of iwar. The information
warfare capabilities of numerous nations, and relative comparisons
between various groups, are analyzed in chapter four. Cohen also
makes a case for China overtaking the United States as a world leader
in this regard. (This seems to have the strongest relationship to the
subtitular admonition that "we are losing" the world war 3 that we
didn't even know was being fought. However, if so, it seems in some
contradiction to statements, in chapters two and three, that "we" are
all fighting each other, or that "we" are all in this together.)
Criminal activity is reviewed in chapter five, but the material is
relatively weak in regard to iwar. The relationship between preaching
(especially the dogmatic and extreme forms) and propaganda is clear,
so chapter seven's association between religion and iwar is not
surprising, but the text does not support the contention in any
detailed way. Corporate public relations and business intelligence is
discussed in chapter seven. (Of particular interest are the sections
on companies against nations and religions.)
Chapter eight analyzes propaganda, not only in terms of the component
parts, but also in regard to effective countermeasures. Politics, and
the various forms of iwar inherent in it, are in chapter nine. Gaming
and game theory have been used in warfare and politics for years, and
are examined in chapter ten. Chapter eleven looks at electronic
warfare, in many of its forms. Information attack tactics, in chapter
twelve, repeats procedures that are well known to those dealing with
intrusions and penetration testing. Legal issues associated with iwar
are outlined in chapter thirteen. Chapter fourteen deals with broad
categories of defences that can be mounted against iwar activities.
Education is one, and chapter fifteen examines various forms of
education that are necessary for effective protection. Finally, in
chapter sixteen, Cohen returns to the concept that all of us need to
know about information warfare, and to be on guard against it.
Ultimately, this book is not about World War Three, but about the
information warfare, at all levels, taking place around us every day.
While more personal and not as academic as Denning's "Information
Warfare and Security" (cf. BKINWRSC.RVW), Cohen's work is, in its own
way, just as important, since it addresses the types of propaganda to
which almost everyone is subject, likely without being aware of it.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2006 BKWW3IWB.RVW 20060823
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