Computer systems all over the world are linked and connected to each other. This shows on the one hand the achievements of modern technology. On the other hand, such connections and resultant dependencies create vulnerabilities that can be exploited if the systems and data are not adequately protected.
Unfortunately, awareness of these dangers is still not very common. Both governments and private companies have systems running that are at risk of being penetrated. Penetration tests, performed by the FBI on government systems, show that in many cases the attacks succeed, and most of them were not detected.
If those weak points are exploited intentionally by competitors (both political and economic competitors) this is called Information Warfare. In the article , Information Warfare is defined as "the technique of attacking critical infrastructures by electronically interfering with industry and government computers".
For the U.S. intelligence community, potential hackers range from national intelligence and military organizations, terrorists, and criminals to industrial competitors, hackers, and disloyal insiders. For that reason, the intelligence agencies try to prepare themselves for the next generation of war.
From a business point of view, Information Warfare has slightly different aspects. In , the author explains that "Information Warfare involves achieving and maintaining an information advantage over competitors or adversaries." The author states that Information Warfare constitutes of information collection, protection, denial, management, and transport. These elements define options, risks, and opportunities for an organization. The organization's strategy is defined by how it chooses to implement and prioritize these elements.
More information about Information Warfare and Info War can be found at . This web site offers a huge collection of articles on this topic.