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IW Threat From Sub-state Groups: An Interdisciplinary Approach

NCJ Number
Journal of Financial Crime Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Dated: October 1998 Pages: 146-156
A Rathmell; R Overill; L Valeri; J Gearson
Date Published
11 pages
The extent and nature of the information warfare (IW) threat from terrorist groups is examined, based on findings of a research project being conducted at the International Center for Security Analysis.
The concept behind the research project is the assumption that assessing the IW threat from sub-state radical groups requires the combined skills of computer and information security specialists, strategists, and political scientists with area expertise. The analysis has demonstrated that developing a useful threat assessment requires an understanding of network and national information infrastructure vulnerabilities, of the community with the skills to cause damage, and the groups that may potentially use these skills for political and paramilitary purposes. The analysis concludes that a pool of knowledge and skilled personnel exist who are able and willing to carry out information warfare operations ranging from propaganda to software warfare. In addition, even wealthy and authoritarian countries such as Saudi Arabia have been unable to respond effectively to opposition groups that make sophisticated use of modern communication methods. Moreover, Islamic opposition movements are making effective use of information warfare and can thus leverage their limited resources to achieve a major impact. Finally, through the potential impact of software warfare attacks on the national information infrastructure by groups such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army in the United Kingdom could be highly disruptive and cost-effective, they may be reluctant to use this approach for reasons of organizational culture and operational security. Reference notes