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Vulnerability assessment of modern ICT infrastructure from an information warfare perspective.

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The overall objective of the study is to provide a vulnerability assessment of the mobile communications infrastructure to information warfare attacks; this study has a South African focus. The mobile infrastructure was selected as the infrastructure and mobile devices incorporate the majority of modern ICT technologies, namely social networking, wireless connectivity and mobility, mass storage, as well as the telecommunications elements. The objectives of the study are to: Propose a new information warfare model, and from this deduce a vulnerability assessment framework from the specific information warfare perspective. These are the guiding frameworks and model for the study. Gather information regarding threats and vulnerabilities, with particular focus on potential use in information warfare and relevance to South Africa. Establish the criticality of the mobile infrastructure in South Africa. Use the gathered information in the vulnerability assessment, to assess the vulnerability of the mobile infrastructure and related devices and services. The model and framework are generated through desk-based research. The information is gathered from research protocols that are relevant to both research and risk and vulnerability assessment, these include: expert input through interviews and a research workshop, incident and trend analyses through news and vendor reports and academic publishing, computer simulation, questionnaire survey, and mathematical analyses. The information is then triangulated by using it in the vulnerability assessment. The primary and secondary data shows that attacks on confidentiality are the most prevalent for both computer-based networks and the mobile infrastructure. An increase in threats and incidents for both computer and mobile platforms is being seen. The information security trends in South Africa indicate that the existing security concerns are likely to worsen, in particular the high infection rates. The research indicates that the mobile infrastructure is critical in South Africa. The study validates the proposed framework, which indicates that South Africa is vulnerable to an information warfare attack in general. Key aspects of vulnerability in the mobile infrastructure are highlighted; the apparent high load of the mobile infrastructure in South Africa can be seen as a high risk vulnerability. Suggestions to mitigate vulnerabilities and threats are provided.


Ph. D. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2011.


Information warfare., Wireless communication systems., Information technology., Theses -- Information systems and technology.