Resources, technology and strategy have been the critical ingredients of war. Having these strong, meant a clear advantage. A pitched battle even with different theaters of war, was war, as the conventional thinking goes. Then came war of attrition; long protracted ones, the iconic Cold War, Asymmetric Wars came into being in the 1970s and over to the present day, Cyber has become the latest war zone. Lots of current wars and subsequent wars would be decided on this battleground. Suffice to say, different forms of war have complimented & supplemented each other, strategy getting the better of all.
Cyber Security means that we are competent enough to defend our digital Infrastructure, which as a natural corollary means data as well. The other component is the cyber offensive capability to strike at your enemy. Cyber offensive is an act of war. Different manifestations of it are found with it’s leading practitioners; North Korea, China, Russia, US etc. No one knows it’s war or peace. Beside, the defensive and offensive capability, is information as a tool itself. It’s creation and dissemination holds the key. ISIS has been the leader; every terror outfit and nation states also use this weapon grade information tool.
Undeniably, information weaponised has to be outmatched. Terror infested areas and war zones also have young eyes glued to smart phones as anywhere else, but with a difference. It is the content they consume. It’s tailormade to their requirements, poison, for large scale brainwashing. Terror need not be exported, there are local factories of radicalization created. It could put the content and pedagogy of KGB and Stasi to shame. The content is always shocking. A multi-media terror machine, the smartphone, is there in every sympathiser’s hand. He himself does not know how the transition happens. The counter, equally potent or even more, emotional & mesmerizing with futurist fancy and a dream life promised, govts and armies have not been able to put forth.
There is no choice but to accept information warfare as a weapon. These weapons need to developed, deployed and successfully used. The weapon development needs content writers, video editors, social media experts, domain experts, digital marketing, songwriters etc. and also the logistics, hardware and connectivity. A new era in terrorism and warfare!
TERRORISM, SOCIAL MEDIA OUTREACH AND INFORMATION WARFARE HAVE GOT COMPLETELY INTERTWINED.