We agree with experts who believe that there exist two principal forms of information warfare, technological and psychological, the former targeting information systems and communication channels and the latter, people's minds and public opinion.
We can detect a trend toward growing non-state involvement in information wars. There are various interconnected reasons for this.
One of them is the latent character of information warfare: governments launching information attacks are careful to keep them undetected or to try to gloss over their own involvement if such attacks are detected. Another reason is that it is difficult to find out who carried out the information attack and what the objective was. Yet another reason are resources that some Internet users and associations of users apply to conduct for cross-border attacks.
INTERNATIONAL terrorist and extremist organizations make extensive use of information and communication technology (ICT) for propaganda and recruitment.
A report for 2017 by Group-IB, one of the leading international companies dedicated to the prevention and investigation of high-tech crimes, speaks of "state-sponsored hackers" as well as "financially motivated" ones. Geopolitical disputes between nations "are being accompanied by an increase in cyber espionage and sabotage campaigns," the report says.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS and individual civic activists have recently been forming powerful international associations, which mainly owe their emergence to the global information and communication resources of the Internet. However, they are often drawn into information wars because of powerful effects their investigations may have.
GLOBAL MEDIA remain the most influential source of information, and therefore they inevitably get drawn into information wars.
Media, especially state-financed media organizations, predominantly act as agents of governments in information wars.
American NGOs are widely known for their key role in organizing "color revolutions" over the past two decades. They worked with opposition parties and their youth units, with central government elites, and with local government bodies. They also supported media groups and Internet resources that were involved in subversive activities and local NGOs that later organized protests.
Prestigious international NGOs publish reports assessing specific developments or containing development ratings for various countries in specific fields. Such reports are powerful vehicles for influence.
COMMERCIAL ORGANIZATIONS that take part in information wars mainly do so indirectly, under outsourcing agreements, fulfilling tasks such as monitoring the information space and cyber intelligence, and information security tasks, including defense of critical facilities in information infrastructures.
It has been a trend for a few decades for governments to hand over some of their military and security functions to commercial organizations, which has manifested itself best in the emergence of private military corporations. It would be logical to expect the emergence of private companies organizing information offensives, both technological and psychological, on a commercial basis, which would mean commercializing information warfare.