Economic information warfare : analysis of the relationship between the protection of financial information infrastructure and Australia's national security

Deakin, Robert Luke (2003) Economic information warfare : analysis of the relationship between the protection of financial information infrastructure and Australia's national security. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The thesis presents an argument for the re-alignment of Australia's National Security efforts so that they mirror the changes occurring in our economy and society. Specifically, it seeks outcomes that can focus our efforts in protecting the critical infrastructure including our financial information infrastructure, from new and emerging threats.

The thesis presents a definition of security as it applies to the Nation-State and provides the evidence of the changes in conflict and global security. It outlines the changes in the National Security environment and identifies emerging forms of conflict that effect national economic systems, and financial information infrastructures. It shows how the traditional view of National Security is being eroded by the Information Age. To support this argument a view of the key forces that are changing weapons, warfare, and approaches to National Security are provided. The thesis presents a view of the unconventional threats to economic systems. In particular, it describes the targeting of critical national information infrastructures including energy, banking and finance, transportation, vital human services, and telecommunications.

The thesis outlines concern regarding the vulnerability of developed nations' social structures through increasing dependence on information and communications technology (ICT) systems, and the small population of specialist that support and protect it. The thesis argues that this dependency exposes national and global economies to new threats and forms of attack.

The thesis consists of an overview of the evolution National Security approaches. In particular, it examines collective security and security concepts as they relates to the Nation-State. It identifies a number of drivers, which outline the changing nature of the global security environment. The thesis describes asymmetric warfare and discusses Information Warfare (IW), describing its elements and goals. An analysis of offensive and defensive information warfare, strategies, and operations is provided. This is then related to economic systems and how they have featured in conflicts between nations throughout history. The information and communications technology (ICT) that underpin the financial environment (in particular payment systems) are reviewed and the thesis closes by focusing on the elements of economic infrastructure assets and types of attacks from which they require protection.

We conclude that the challenges for Critical Infrastructure protection in Australia are daunting and a number of recommendations are made that should be considered in light of the rapidly changing security environment. The challenges of Information Warfare will stretch Australia's resources, require re-conceptualising of our national defence forces, greater participation of the private sector, and changes in our daily lives.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 15900
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Caelli, William & Rolf, Daniel
Keywords: National Security, War, Defence, Economic Warfare, Future Wars
Department: Faculty of Information Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Robert Luke Deakin
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:52
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:40

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