Not so long ago the two main news outlets in the old Soviet Union were Izvestia, which means “News” and Pravda, which means “Truth.” And it didn’t take long for some wordsmith to put the two together in this somewhat famous saying: There’s no Pravda in Izvestia, and no Izvestia in Pravda; no truth in the news, and no news in the truth.
Today there are a number of words lots of people, including reporters, are tossing around, sometimes to deliberately confuse people and governments.
Let’s look at a few.
Information warfare and disinformation occurs when the government uses news and social media to gain public support for their side, and at the same time confuse and demoralize the other side.
Disinformation, on the other hand, is deliberately spreading lies.
Suffice it to say, every government and organization on the planet tries to create a favorable image for itself, and a negative image of the other side.
Cyber warfare is used to infiltrate and damage the enemy’s computer infrastructure. This may be something as simple as changing an opponent’s web page, perhaps with disinformation, to manipulating or destroying data.
Imagine what would happen if a cyber-terrorist hacked into a hospital’s date base and changed all of the medication dosages. Or changed the chemical balance in a water treatment plant.
Some authorities consider electronic warfare to be different branch of combat. Here the idea is to disrupt systems such as navigation, radar, cell phone service and radio/television systems.
Intelligence and counterintelligence is the gathering of information about the enemy, and preventing their side from gathering information about your side.
What is not generally known is how little spying is done by James Bond-types. Most intelligence is gathered from what is known as open source information: newspaper stories, academic research articles, social media and other public sources.
Actually, most of this is nothing new. Julius Caesar in Europe and Joshua at Jericho were doing the same things, without computer assistance, centuries ago.
I’m Larry Burriss.