Re: [iwar] Figuring out the "quantity" of import that IWAR implies?

From: Tony Bartoletti (
Date: 2001-06-26 15:35:27

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Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 15:35:27 -0700
Subject: Re: [iwar] Figuring out the "quantity" of import that IWAR implies?
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At 06:37 AM 6/26/01 -0700, Fred Cohen wrote:
>Per the message sent by c.b r:
> >  I agree folks-there are terms that have been used of
> > late-hysteria, etc. that are a bit strong for the
> > place that we are, today, with IWAR.  Insidious, sure
> > and difficult to deal with and several others, but we
> > have yet to reach the point where IWAR has the
> > potential to kill people on the order of nukes,
>Actually...  in WW II millions of people were killed by information
>warfare - all of those murdered in death camps for example.  We can call
>it propaganda if you like...  Indeed every time people convince other
>people to go out killing people an act of information warfare has
>succeeded. More people have been killed over religious ideas than
>by nuclear weapons.

True.  But IWAR and "Cyberwar" differ a bit, in that the latter is focused 
more upon that which is enabled, and perhaps directly executable, by means 
of the internet or related cyber infrastructure.  I surmise c.b.r had the 
latter more in mind.

> > however the problem is on the rise.  The real question
> > is where will it end up, once fully developed on the
> > scale of weapony? Or will it always be a low
> > intensity, unconventional type of fight?c.b.r of DC
>I think that your second characterization is pretty much right - at
>least for now.  Information warfare must be insidious to be successful.
>It gets a bit intense at times - at least in my experience, but how do
>we really measure intensity? Different measures will put information
>warfare higher or lower than other weapons.

The eventual power of cyberweapons will be directly proportional to the 
degree to which we "enable" pervasive cyber control of critical 
processes.  If we allow legitimate operators to issue "emergency" 
directives, electronically, to elements such as power transmission, 
air/rail traffic scheduling, remote refinery operations, (emergency 
broadcast systems!) etc., then one can see room for havoc.

What worries me is that the "safeguards" we put in place in the hopes of 
securing these kinds of communications are typically the type that 
successfully thwart the casual hacker and "noisy children", yet (perhaps) 
not the well-funded, expert, dedicated operations that will quietly subvert 
control systems, but bide their time to exercise some form of coordinated 

There is talk about cyberwar preparation being little more that a "cash 
cow" for the DoD, and it rings true in the short-term.  To many folk, it 
probably conjures up images of billion dollar anti web-defacement measures. 
But one must raise the alarms early, yell "the sky is falling", for 
cyber-realized infrastructure control will not be a passing fad.


Tony Bartoletti 925-422-3881 <>
Information Operations, Warfare and Assurance Center
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Livermore, CA 94551-9900


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