Subject: IW Mailing List iw/960127
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 1996 07:47:15 -0500 (EST)
From: Sick Puppy 
Subject: Deception as part of IW

There are a few places I can dock up unobserved and watch networks
thousands of miles away, while the users of those networks have no idea
that I am watching.  For some time I have been watching a former citizen
of the former evil empire trying to reduce the security of a large
organization.  He clearly isn't having any success but he keeps banging
away at it, so I presume he is getting paid to do that.  Somebody else
however is better, got into the organization and set up his own stuff. 
Once he saw his connections working, he started using IP spoofing to
mimic the guy who just keeps banging away.  I haven't completely traced
the successful guy yet, but I am absolutely certain that he is not the
same guy that just keeps banging away.  Please note that all this is
happening outside of US jurisdiction. 

Does anyone know of any studies where the aspects of one intruder
setting up his operation to point to a different intruder have been
Subject: Three views of "information"
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 96 16:03:28 PST
From: David Ronfeldt 

As further fuel for this discussion of "information" and all it can
mean, my view (in work with colleague John Arquilla, which I draw on
below) currently runs as follows. 

Three general views of "information" appear in discussions about the
information revolution, information warfare, and their implications.
Each view approaches the concept differently; each harbors a different
perspective of what is important.  Two views are widespread:  The first
considers information in terms of the inherent message, the second in
terms of the medium of production, storage, transmission, and reception.
The emerging third view transcends the former two; it speculates that
information may be a physical property--as physical as mass and energy,
and inherent in all matter.  Thus, "information," generally thought to
be immaterial, is seen to be a tangible part of all matter

Information As Message

The first view is the most ancient and ordinary; indeed, it is the view
found in the dictionary.  Reduced to bare essentials, it regards
information as an immaterial message or signal that contains meaningful
(or at least recognizable) content, and that can be transmitted from a
sender to a receiver.

As noted in this discussion before, this view is often represented by
what gets called the "information pyramid." It has a broad base of
disorganized raw "data" and "facts," atop which sits a stratum of
organized "information." The next, narrower stratum corresponds to
information refined into "knowledge." Atop that, at the peak, sits the
most distilled stratum, "wisdom"--the highest level of information.  (A
cognitive version places "awareness" at the base, "knowledge" above, and
"understanding" at the peak.) "Information," then, corresponds to part
or all of this pyramid, but the term is usually employed in the latter,
expansive sense these days. 

This view gets extended in the notion of "memes" (Richard Dawkins)--the
notion that some types of information are so powerful, so laden with
vitality, that they may be deemed as "alive" as genes.  According to
Dawkins, the most meaningful information "doesn't merely embody order;
it advances order and maintains it."

  Information As Medium

The second view observes that information relates not just to the
message, but more broadly to the system (or technology, or carrier, to
use other terms in this discussion) whereby a sender transmits a message
to a receiver.  This view directs the eye to the medium--or the
conduit--of transmission and reception.  The key concern is the ability
of a communications system to move signals well--that is, with low
noise, low "entropy," and preferably with high redundancy.  In this
view, the actual message content is irrelevant; what matters are the
encodability and the transmittability of a message, regardless of its
content.  This view is more about communications than knowledge. 

My understanding is that this second view gained influence in the 1940s
and 1950s under the rubrics of information theory, communication
engineering, cybnernetics, etc.  It was elucidated initially by Claude
Shannon, and then by Norbert Wiener.  This view then filters into the
social sciences, helping stimulate Marshall McLuhan's insight that "the
medium is the message."

Two alluring definitions of information that I like seem to me to aptly
summarize this second view, yet contain elements of the first view as
well.  The first is by Norbert Wiener:

"Just as the amount of information in a system is a measure of its
degree of organization, so the entropy of a system is a measure of its
degree of disorganization; and the one is simply the negative of the
other." (Weiner)

The second is by anthropologist-cyberneticist Gregory Bateson, and I've
seen it mentioned here before:

"The technical term 'information' may be succinctly defined as any
difference which makes a difference in some later event.  This
definition is fundamental for all analysis of cybernetic systems and
organizations.  The definition links such analysis to the rest of
science, where the causes of events are commonly not differences but
forces, impacts, and the like.  The link is classically exemplified by
the heat engine, where available energy (i.e., negative entropy) is a
function of a difference between two temperatures.  In this classical
instance, 'information' and 'negative entropy' overlap." (Bateson)

In these and related writings, I see a trend to equate information with
"organization," "order," and "structure"--to argue that embedded
information is what makes an object have an orderly structure.  As this
trend has developed, its emphasis has shifted.  At first, in the
1940s-1950s, theorists emphasized the concept of "entropy"--and were
thus concerned with exploiting feedback to improve "control." Now, the
emphasis has shifted to the concept of "complexity"--and this has led to
a new concern with the "coordination" of complex systems.  Control and
coordination are different, sometimes contrary processes; indeed, the
exertion of excessive control in order to avoid entropy may inhibit the
looser, decentralized types of coordination that often characterize
advanced forms of complex systems.  What James Beniger once called the
"control revolution" is now turning into what might be better termed a
"coordination revolution."

  Information And Physical Matter

Meanwhile, challenging third view is emerging in which information is
about much more than message and medium.  In this view, it is said that
information is as basic to physical reality as are matter and
energy--all material objects are said to embody not only matter and
energy, but also "information." According to Robert Wright, the spectrum
for this view runs from regarding information as an output from the
behavior of matter and energy; to regarding information as equal in
importance to matter and energy in the composition of reality; to
regarding information as even more fundamental than matter and energy. 
Information, then, is an embedded physical property of all objects that
exhibit organization and structure.  This applies to dirt clods as well
as DNA strands.  New academic fields of study--e.g., "information
physics" and "computational physics"--are emerging around such ideas
(while still drawing on the older two views). 

One proponent, Tom Stonier, amid a speculative, abstruse discourse, sums
up the basic idea quite clearly: "Its main thesis is that 'information'
is not merely a product of the human mind--a mental construct to help us
understand the world we inhabit--rather, information is a [physical]
property of the universe, as real as are matter and energy." (Stonier)

Physicist Edward Fredkin argues that the entire universe is tantamount
to a giant computer: "What I'm saying is that, at the most basic level
of complexity, an information process runs what we think of as physics."
(quoted by Robert Wright)

This line of thinking is not confined to physics.  Social theorist
Kenneth Boulding has remarked (again, to Robert Wright) that matter and
energy "are mostly significant as encoders and transmitters of
information." In other words, the organization and the complexity of all
objects, including social objects, reflects and depends upon their
informational content and processing capabilities. 

This third view remains odd and unclear, but quite intriguing.  If it
proves a cutting-edge rather than a fringe view, it may yet lead to
analytic paradigms of as much power as have the first two views. 

  Implications For "Information Warfare"

Which view of "information" gets emphasized, or neglected, affects what
gets meant by "information warfare"--a term whose meaning and utility
are far from settled in part because of the difficulty of coming to
grips with what is meant by "informaton."

Those who approach information warfare in terms of activities mainly in
cyberspace are bound to rely on the first two views and to restrict the
definitions of those views.  For example, it is often said that
information warfare is about attacking and defending "information
systems"--a term that tends to connote computer and other electronic
hardware and software systems.  What if the term "media" is used instead
of "systems"? Something much broader gets implied, and the effort to
limit the focus to cyberspace starts to slip. 

There are few proponents yet of the third view of information, but if/as
it takes hold, it may help to draw some new implications that will
broaden the meaning of "information warfare" even further (if the term
survives).  For example, we might be able to talk about hurling
information at adversaries, much as we have talked in the past about
hurling mass and energy at them.  We might be able to reassess weapons
systems according to the information (third view) embedded in them.  We
might design strategies that emphasize going after targets that have
high rather than low information content (e.g., traffickers' electronic
funds transfers, rather than their poppy fields).  This third view might
also help raise the value of social and human capital, as man remains
the greatest embodiment of information.