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REVIEW: "World War 3: Information Warfare Basics", Fred Cohen

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKWW3IWB.RVW 20060823 World War 3: Information Warfare Basics , Fred Cohen, 2006, 1-878109-40-5 %A Fred Cohen fred.cohen at all dot net %C 572 Leona Dr,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 11, 2006
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      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
      %D 2006
      %G 1-878109-40-5
      %I Fred Cohen and Associates
      %O 925-454-0171 all.net
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1878109405/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/1878109405/robsladesin03-20
      %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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