Intelligence is the process of gathering information about a certain person, group of people, organization, project or any other object. The term is often used in the context of intelligence activities such as military intelligence gathering, espionage, or cyber security intelligence. Intelligence may involve the use of a variety of sources, such as public information, surveillance, impersonation, or electronic intrusion. The purpose of intelligence may be to gather information for decision-making, to prevent potential threats, or to carry out a reconnaissance mission. In any case, intelligence is an important step in many processes and can be important for achieving specific goals. Intelligence can be conducted by various organizations or individuals, such as law enforcement agencies, government services, intelligence agencies, commercial companies, journalists, and others.
Depending on the context, intelligence may involve the use of various technologies, methods and tools, including social engineering, open source analysis, eavesdropping, physical access to the object, the use of cyber espionage techniques and others. An important aspect of intelligence is the legal side of the issue, as many of the methods used in gathering information may be illegal or violate the rights of individuals and organizations. Therefore, when conducting intelligence, it is necessary to comply with laws and ethical principles in order to avoid negative consequences and responsibility for one’s actions.
Intelligence is of the utmost importance for participants in military operations, and not only. The more information the conflicting party has before the start of the battle, the greater the chances of not losing this battle. The main joint tasks for intelligence, which the participants in the war face:
Learn as much information as possible about the opponent
Hide as much relevant information about yourself as possible
Let’s consider the task of collecting information. The most important characteristics of intelligence are its relevance and reliability. If everything is clear with relevance, information should be received as soon as possible, which will allow adequate countermeasures to be taken. But with reliability, everything is a little more complicated, depending on the source of the intelligence, the information may require different levels of verification. For example, it is one thing if the spy managed to make a copy of his cards, correspondence, documents with limited access imperceptibly for the adversary; and quite another if the data is obtained from open sources (OSINT). In the latter case, before forming any conclusion, it is important to take into account a lot of related factors.
HUMINT (human intelligence) –agency intelligence, obtains information with the help of agents;
SIGINT (SIGnal INTelligence) – radio and radio engineering intelligence, collects information by intercepting signals, whether it is communication between people (COMINT – комунікаційна розвідка) or electronic signals that are not directly used in communication (ELINT – electronic intelligence);
CYBINT – cyber intelligence, cyber security;
IMINT (IMagery INTelligence) – visual reconnaissance, which ensures obtaining a photographic image of the object;
MASINT (Measurement And Signature INTelligence) – measurement-signature intelligence, based on the collection of intelligence by detecting, tracking, identifying or describing distinctive characteristics (signatures) of fixed or dynamic target sources;
GEOINT – geospatial intelligence, uses information obtained from the analysis of photo and video images and location data. GEOINT uses imagery to study and assess human activities and physical geography anywhere on Earth, including photogrammetry, cartography, image analysis, remote sensing, and terrain analysis.
SOCINT (Monitoring and Alerting via Social Intelligence) – obtaining intelligence management of political, economic or social processes by collecting digital data about social relations. It is used to build a detailed picture of network structures, data on which then serve as starting points for further analysis.
Let’s consider GEOINT in more detail, due to the availability of tools for this type of intelligence. Given the prevalence of social networks among the young civilian population and low discipline among military personnel, content (photos and videos) that can be used to determine the coordinates of bases, firing positions, repair bases, warehouses, logistics routes, etc. . The military themselves begin to perform the functions of enemy scouts, embedded in their ranks. Also, a significant role is played by the civilian population, which publishes photos and videos of the movement of military equipment columns and firing positions in almost real time. A set of information that comes almost simultaneously from different sources can describe quite accurately what is happening in the rear of the enemy and in his forward positions.