Different times in history has seen Information playing an important role in the lives of millions across the globe to either facilitate or complicate their daily activities, which are now demanding in nature. Such occurrences are perceptible in the contemporary Information warfare, and also as a way of doing business in various organizations. Information has an integral role in the commerce industry and is highly recognized as a refined means of business practices, which help bring focus on clients while also supplementary to the providing of top quality services that emphasizes on customer value and appreciation. In addition, information is vital in the field of commerce due to its ‘cumbersome’ negotiations and transactions, which must be accurate and up-to-date for its overall survival. Therefore, pertinent information technologies have gradually been developed for the commerce industry so that it may adapt to the changing business trends that does not condone any chance of misinformation that may lead to ‘costly’ misjudgments. As never seen before in the past, the significance of information through the means of technology has highly influenced the intense yet rapidly changing business environment that calls for the need to withdraw tenuous suppositions of consumer loyalty, and replace it with both consumer-centric and market-focused information (Strassmann, 1995). For this reason, it is highly necessary for every organization to hold on to valuable consumer information that will help set-forth their long-term strategies on service offerings and products.
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Information warfare (IW) also entails perception management that involves processes that aims to ‘touch’ people’s perception and consequently sway their actions, decisions, reasoning, and eventually their emotions. Perception management also includes psychological operations as it intently influences personal demeanor through desire, panic, logic, and various forms of mental aspects. Perception management may further entail the dispersal of false notions, information, and rumors that solely intends to help a person or an organizational cause by denting or destructing an opposing cause. Another form of IW is seen through digital information operations that involve the fortification and compromise of computer-based technologies that bear crucial information through hacking and other insidious means of data retrieval (David, 2009). Consequently, IW and commerce has shaped both the digital media and other human aspects of information through advertising, censorship, denouncements, harassment, and distortions which have all become the contemporary way of business and war manipulation.
However, the importance of Information is predominantly evident in modern-day warfare’s whereby technology plays a big role for any country as they seek a cutthroat gain over their opponents. Information Warfare (IW) may basically involve every tactical means that will help get to the realization of relevant information and assurances that may help a country to manipulate, disseminate, and control any form of disinformation or propaganda over their opponents. Such information can also be discreetly used by any country to psychologically win public trust and opinions in various situations while simultaneously undermining external ‘enemies’ and any opposing threat. In order for both Information warfare and commerce to fully operate, proper infrastructure has to be put in place and they may range from technological setups to various human aspects has also got to be considered (Armistead, 2007). Although information warfare has been intensely utilized by the military and various intelligence units around the world, it also has importance in the public lives as it is relevant to most organizations. Even though the magnitude of both information warfare and commerce are increasingly taking place on the cyberspace, its repercussions affect the daily lives of millions around the globe. For the purpose of this paper, we are therefore going to look at the importance of modern Information warfare and commerce as well as its relevance in the modern environment.
The Relevance of Business Information Warfare
Some of the most relevant yet predominant aspects of IW and commerce comprise of operational process affinity, battle space commerce, critical infrastructures, and commercial competition. Since commerce now has an electronic aspect to it, standard operational processes have an affinity to various IW operations that obviously includes processes in defensive information warfare and normal business computing practices which involves both information assurances and security (Jones, 2004). For instance, there is as a close comparison between eavesdropping management and intrusion which is rampant in defensive IW operations and the practices carried out in organizational electronic businesses such as in operating firewalls, virtual private networks, and also in virus scanning equipment’s.
Information warfare and commerce also slides into the expansive ‘real’ battle space through potential attacks on critical national infrastructures which is the most prevalent in the modern society. In this case, a battlefield opponent would significantly gain an advantage when a rival’s communication and transportation systems, finance, and energy provisions are greatly disrupted to an extent that it interferes with their aptitude to withstand warfare operations (Rattray, 2001). Information warfare bouts may further be aimed at electronic commerce whereby critical attack information is shared among the businesses that are comprehensively betrothed into such infrastructures. Since these businesses also includes those that develop useful military systems such as defense, software, and information weaponries, this means that they are considerably engaged in the miscellaneous civilian and military operations which further makes them a legitimate target for military IW that is largely connected to commerce(Strassmann, 1995).
Apart from just combat operations, another aspect of Information Warfare evolves around attacking critical national information infrastructures that solely intends to disrupt both civilian and political accord. A potential offensive on national infrastructures such as banks, utilities, and transportation businesses, just to name a few, makes this method of warfare to even have a negative direct impact on the general economical progression of a nation (Qing & Eloff, 2000). Even though some electronic businesses may not earn the rights to being a critical infrastructure, they all play an important role in the overall sustenance of a country’s economy as they are all centralized into a network-based digital communication system that includes online retailing, electronic data transactions, supply chain management systems, and so on (Jones, 2004).
Most organizations in the commerce industry do understand that the nature of their operational business structures to information are highly vulnerable to outside manipulation and interference and for these reason, security around crucial information is highly guarded as never seen before in the past. The modern commerce environment in most countries has seen critical infrastructures such as those in vital human services, physical distribution, finance, banking, energy, and information communication systems being dominated by private initiatives and entities that are also susceptible to attacks through their networked data connections. For instance, since infrastructures related to information and communication systems involves software, public telecommunication networks, computers, and the internet, all these structures have made this intensive information industry be a victim of their own predicament via very own networks which includes their customized computerized control systems (Qing & Eloff, 2000). Therefore, businesses which are encompassed in the physical conveyance of goods, services, and even passengers through air, rail, sea or road can be easily attacked via their stated networks as information that regards to tracking, routing, tracking, ticketing are highly likely to be breached by person/s with interest.
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Furthermore, since most businesses in the energy field are highly dependent on Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems (SCADA), the frequent access to such systems whether legal or unauthorized over the internet further makes them extremely vulnerable to computer-generated attacks (Jones, 2004). Additionally, information generated from the banking and finance industries which includes various investment companies, banks, exchanges, and financial services only takes information warfare to their related corporate or governmental agencies and operational payment transaction systems as they provide prospective avenues for electronic disruptions.
Additionally, the concept of information warfare also takes shape in the form of antagonistic business competitiveness in which businesses make use of ‘invasive’ IW principles for the sole purpose of gathering intelligence from the public domain, attaining an edge in Information through technological modernisms, and obtaining classified access contracts to highly ‘‘prized’’ consumer information (Janczewski & Colarik, 2005). Therefore, defensive IW principles can also be used to censor unconstrained public business information that regards to competitive innovations and obstacles in unfair competitive practices which are unethical in nature (David, 2009).
Importance of Information on Modern-day Commerce
The rapidly globalized world means that people and various economies are increasingly connected than ever before and with this fact in mind, the structural setups of both the global economies and business enterprises have significantly changed to adapt and be accommodative to the modern business environment that calls for inclusiveness and cooperation (Rahman & Bignall, 2001). Since it’s challenging for most businesses to realize their premeditated business goals and survival, Information systems in the field of commerce have brought in operational excellence that aims at bringing in higher profit gains as they now provide managers with relevant mechanisms that will help them achieve greater efficiency and productivity rates in their business operations. For instance, a good example is seen in Wal-Mart who utilizes a RetailLink system that connects its suppliers to each of its stores and once an item ‘goes short’, their suppliers who are monitoring these items would effectively know when to restock the item (Rattray, 2001).
Since the commerce industry is mainly dependent on relevant information from all circles of the society, technological information systems would help construct new products and services which are relevant to the market while also creating totally new business models as information is also relevant for growth and expansion. Such business models would foretell a company’s long-term plans while also describing their general operations that accumulate their wealth and profits (Rattray, 2001). Therefore, information warfare in the field of commerce would help a business stay relevant and up-to-date to their consumers as they develop to their needs. This will also improve both customer and supplier intimacy as a better business environment is created by information system that engages all stakeholders in the business field through real-time processes which also improves and sustains a competitive advantage for a business. In addition, as businesses invest in various technological-based information systems since they are now necessities of the modern business environment, they will ensure the day-to-day survival of the business as they provide a statistical advantage on its general outlook (Tavani, 2009). This will also bring to the table side-lined economies such as those in developing countries as they will have a voice in the global commerce that is highly revolutionized by information warfare.
The relevance of Information Warfare in the modern society
Although some forms of Information Warfare are longstanding as history itself, the contemporary society has seen an aggression in this field which has now shaped various military outfits around the world as technological progression is predominantly showcased in information systems, defense systems, and both command and control structures (Leeuw, 2007). All these elements have consequently swayed preemptive discernments, strategic and operational procedures of most military outfits around the world to further influence their doctrines on combat, and also on how to handle multinational crisis and international conflicts. However, information Warfare has a profound advantage on those nations that have hi-tech advancements in anticipation of any potential enemy. As various wars in history has continuously being decided on information gathering and tactics, the modern environment has only gone steps further to bring accuracy to such information as there could be a ‘costly’ effect if at all the information is found to be inadequate. Moreover, IW is increasingly trying to eliminate the physical human factor in combat zones as it forms part of the larger weaponry system of today’s techno-maniac society.
Nations around are globe are in an endless race to acquire high-end information equipment’s that range from satellites to CCTV’s and other sophisticated spying equipment’s which would all help showcase their dominance in controlled any form of internal or external information that has significant interest and gains. The insurgency in both Iraq and Afghanistan brought a clear understanding on the importance of IW as prisoner interrogation, seized documents, and the daily events of the insurgency further indicated on how IW was highly considered to be part of the tactical and operational strategy by the U.S military. Such attacks are mostly videotaped as they will form part of a crucial process of tactical information campaign (David, 2009).
Other possible IW weapons and technologies which are developed by advanced armies and societies and could possibly be used by both the contemporary armies and terrorists include computer viruses, Electronic jamming equipment’s, Chipping, HERF guns – EMP Bombs, logic bombs, trap doors, Nano machines and Microbes, Trojan Horses, and worms (Janczewski & Colarik, 2005). Therefore, as opposed to the human element being put in danger as in the past, technological advancements in IW can be used for malicious terrorist activities against an information society to cause massive damages with a mere remote action (Leeuw, 2007). The modern society has eliminated any scenario of putting the human element in danger towards IW as opposed to in the past where a whole army would be lost for such quests.
Information Warfare is predominantly used and forced by those highly technologized nations and it is an unfortunate situation for their potential adversaries who might not stand up to such technological superiority. Both Information warfare and commerce in the modern atmosphere calls for interconnected systems and this further puts them highly vulnerable for attacks which can have a long-lasting effect to most economies and the wider society. Even though IW is widely seen to be used for malicious reasons, it can also be use for defensive purposes and stop any potential attacks through the improvement of its overall security system by pointing out its weaknesses. Even though both information warfare and commerce are the future avenues for the general business environment and combat, such instances would occur unnoticeably due to its insidious nature.
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