School of Computer and Information Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
The advent of digital information technology heralded the concept of information warfare. This ‘preliminary’ stage in the 1990s really consisted of technology warfare where the networks, upon which combat relied, were seen as weapons to gain ‘information superiority’. This was the inception of the technological aspect of Information Warfare. The realisation of the effectiveness of electronic networks to optimize organisational communication was taken up by industry, the military and terrorist groups alike. As society quickly became more reliant on digital networks to run its critical functions, it became apparent that this infrastructure was vulnerable and needed protection (as well as being a target for offensive operations).The next stage was the emphasis not on the technology but the information which it stored and processed. This was the ‘information’ stage of Information Warfare (now renamed Information Operations to reflect its expanded scope). This stage developed further and gradually started to include elements such as public relations, and strategic communications This paper examines the development of these elements and their use by terrorist groups. It concentrates on the contemporary manifestations of Influence Wars.