The tools used in information warfare are becoming more sophisticated by the day, says professor Iulian Chifu
We are living in a tectonic context, on top of which there is also an election year. The conflict near us forces us to take preventive measures in the event of an inappropriate development. This is what university professor Iulian Chifu, an expert in security and international relations, believes. He made for Radio Romania an analysis of the geostrategic context and spoke about information warfare. Because wars are no longer fought only on the classical battle front, physically, but increasingly at information level, the confrontations of modern armies taking place predominantly by using intelligence and human psychology.
A component of the hybrid war, but also an independent instrument, "information warfare means the creation of alternative realities by perverting the objective truth, based on data, facts and concrete arguments, twisting it, by using a combination of elements, facts and pieces of truths selected, interpreted, combined with reasonings altered by the use of syllogisms, sophistry, propaganda, forced interpretation, everything covered with a multitude of lies" - explained professor Iulian Chifu some time ago, in an analysis carried out for the newspaper Adevărul,
The main objective of the information warfare is to determine, control or at least alter strategic decision, foreign policy, security and defense, to pervert or hinder the instruments intended for the military component of a state, and the instruments used, the analyst also says, are a combination of narratives, alternative ideas, planting doubts, promoting and credibly validating lies that enter the subconscious as perceptions of the truth, exaggerated and directed interpretations, manipulation, disinformation. Are Romanians prepared for such wars?
University professor Iulian Chifu:
"We made an assessment, relatively recently, of the information warfare situation. First of all, it must be said very clearly that this debate about fake news, about forgeries, about distortions, disinformation in the public environment has mattered enormously. An average Romanian knows very well and can very well react to this type of influence, they are suspicious, they know it could be fake, they check twice where the news comes from, they ask questions. And this is the average Romanian. Because the current social media public space tells us that there are two components. First, that there is an audience for the most horrible of lies, the most obvious, and that has an audience. The second is that anyone, even the best prepared individual, can be a victim of fake news, even more, with their own legitimacy they can multiply it, considering it to be true. Why? Because the information space has become so rich that you don't have time to check every element that you read, that passed before your eyes, that you learned about in different contexts and you tend to do this multiplication."
Information warfare uses three distinct levels of action, explained Iulian Chifu - the first component relates to the alteration of the public space of a target, involving in the media area, the Internet and social media, but also at other, more subtle levels, an injection of propaganda, manipulation and disinformation, which is hard to prove. The second element, lobbying, PR, - if it's a company or a personality - or public diplomacy, if we are talking about a state. Here sums of money are used for credible people to defend the theses proposed by the one who pays with the aim of influencing the decision-makers through ideas launched in the public space.The third level is related to elaborate psychological operations, and here the spread information matters, but especially the effect created by the information at the level of the target audience, namely the birth and creation or accentuation of fears, the creation of collective emotions, the preparation of the public to react to future events in a previously directed, prepared and controlled formula.
But how advanced information warfare is? Professor Iulian Chifu has an answer:
"We have already reached the sixth generation of information warfare. The first three addressed groups, in an unrefined manner, but the last three are already targeted individually, according to typologies, preferences, matters prepared in advance. The last two, the fifth and sixth generations, already relate to cognition, to knowledge, to values, to fundamental things. The fifth generation, for example, has the ability to make an individual no longer believe what they feel, see or hear, and they end not trusting the direct perception of their own senses. The sixth generation is famous for hacking the minds, that is, breaking minds, entering the thinking mechanisms, altering or directing an individual's thinking. Here the targets are individual, the constructions are individual. Of course, the sixth generation is only formulated in theory. Putin asked his Intelligence structures in early 2022 to create a weapon in this direction, and the thinker Yuval Harari claims that it already exists. We have no data as of yet that such an operational tool exists, but it must be said that the tools used in information warfare are becoming more and more sophisticated and that our ability to discern and deal with when we become targets is diminishing."
However, the world has invented reaction formulas, explains security and international relations expert Iulian Chifu. We too have a security area in Romania and that's where the intelligence services work with the necessary tools.