A Model of Information-Psychological Threats to Cyberspace

Andrey Karmanov, Department of Infocommunicational Technologies ITMO University St. Petersburg, Russia, karmanov.nip@gmail.com

Nataliya KarmanovaDepartment of Infocommunicational Technologies ITMO University St. Petersburg, Russia, karmanova.ifmo@gmail.com

Viktor ZernovDepartment of Infocommunicational Technologies ITMO University, St. Petersburg, Russia, zernov@itmo.ru

Abstract  The use of intuitive research methods legitimacy was discussed by the clear minds of the twentieth century. Modern security requirements in cyberspace are forcing researchers to use a finer honed tool. Information and psychological processes in cyberspace are predetermined by the era, country and microculture to which we belong, so we cannot see our moral judgments as a reflection of anything absolute. The operation rules with polar concepts in cyberspace may also be independent of the individual or predetermined culture of the world view. Our intuition helps us together with reflexive algebra to study the infoconflict phenomenon of the thinking in cyberspace.

Keywords: decision making, information-­psychological threats, infoconflict phenomenon

© The Authors, published by CULTURAL-EDUCATIONAL CENTER, LLC, 2020

This work is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

I. Introduction

The legitimacy of the use of intuitive research methods was discussed by the clear minds of the twentieth century. In particular, John Harsanyi claimed, “There is no reason to suppose that we are capable of a direct intuitive understanding of moral truths, just as we are able to comprehend intuitively some basic mathematical truths.” However Modern security requirements in cyberspace are forcing researchers to use a finer honed tool.

Analyzing John Harsanyi‘s thought, we should recall Niels Bohr’s remark that truths are profound and superficial. The denial of superficial truth is a mistake; denial of the profound is another profound truth. Harsanyi‘s statement is without a doubt a profound truth The fact that we are trying to formalize the information-­psychological processes in cyberspace is predetermined by the era, country and microculture to which we belong, therefore we cannot consider our moral judgments as a reflection of something absolute.

However, another profound truth is not ruled out: there may be objective formal rules for operating with polar concepts in cyberspace (positive or negative impact), no less universal than the rules for operating with concepts of true and false in formal logic. Rules in logic do not depend on the specific content of truth and lies, this allows us to hope that the rules for operating with polar concepts in cyberspace can also be independent of an individual or culturally predetermined view of the world. Our intuition helps us, together with reflexive algebra, to study the infoconflict phenomenon of the thinking in cyberspace [1].

II. Intuition in Infoconflict as a Source of Objective Information in Cyber Confrontation

We introduce two variables a and b, defined on the set of Boolean elements {0,1}, where 0 means to succumb to the influence of information weapons (IW), and 1 means to resist. Let the variable a represent cyberspace; a = 0 means that the cyberspace inclines the individual of the information-­psychological object (IPO) to succumb to the influence of IW, and a = 1 — to resist. Let the variable b represent the image of the IPO individual; b = 0 means that the individual sees himself as amenable to the effects of AI, and b = 1 is resistant to the effects of IW. We now introduce the Boolean function A = f (a, b), which describes the behavior of the IPO individual in cyberspace; A = 0 means that the individual IPO succumbed to the impact of IW, and A = 1, which is resistant to the effects of IW. The following two equalities correspond to the text above:

f (1, b) = 1, f (0, b) =  (1)

The first equality reflects the claim that cyberspace can make a person withstand the effects of [2]. The second equality corresponds to the statement that the IPO individual can withstand the effects of IW only provided that he is able to see himself as succumbing to IW. The value b = 0 corresponds to the awareness of oneself succumbed to the influence of IW: in this case (0,0) = 1, i. e. in reality, the individual in the cyberspace resists the effects of IW. A value of b = 1 means that the individual IPO does not see himself as exposed to IW. In this case, he is not able to overcome the effect of the IW: f (0,1) = 0. From relations (1) it follows that

А = а +  = F(a, b) (2)

The function F (a, b) is called logical implication and is usually written as

А =  a (3)

It should be emphasized that this expression will not be interpreted by us as a logical statement “b implies a”; instead, we will understand it as fixing the relationship “b dominates a”.

Function (3) is the simplest information model of threats to an IPO individual of cyberspace, built on reflective analysis, where we used our intuition as a working tool.

III. Modeling the Subjective Threat of an IPO Individual Information Security

Function A describes the behavior; the variable a serves as a link between the IPO individual and cyberspace, and the variable b represents its internal informational and psychological state (their “I”). We ascribed to the expression b = 0 the meaning “seeing oneself succumbed to the impact of IW”. Quoted words correspond to two different phenomena. Firstly, they reflect the “cold” rational observation of the IPO individual, conducted in relation to themselves: “I succumbed to the influence of IW.” Secondly, they reflect the feelings of the IPO individual at this moment (the idea that he succumbed to the influence of IW, terrifies them). In order to fix these two different, but simultaneously occurring phenomena, we agree to consider that the expression b = 0 is both an “objectified” picture of himself in the inner world of the IPO individual, and his experience of an impulse of guilt associated with this picture.

Such a convention makes it possible to represent subjective experiences as definitely as observed behavior [3].

Expression (3) describes the IPO individual, from the position of an external observer. Imagine now that the individual IPO himself took the position of an external observer. In this case, the function will correspond to it.

A1 = (b → a) → с = F(с, F(a, b)) (4)

The expression b  а inside (4) represents not the IPO individual, but his image of themselves. The variable b, which previously played the role of “I” — the IPO individual, takes on the meaning “my image of myself”; it is the image of oneself that the IPO individual “sees” in the image of themselves. In other words, having taken the position of an external observer in the cybespase, an individual acquires the ability not only to see themselves, but also to see themselves, seeing themselves. Cyberspace is now represented by variable c, and variable a is the image of cyberspace that the subject of IPO has. Variable c corresponds to cyberspace “now”, variable a — cyberspace as it was before. Expression (4) plays two roles. On the one hand, it reflects the structure of the IPO individual’s inner world, on the other hand, it is a functional description of the behavior of the IPO individual and psychological reactions associated with this behavior [4].

IV. Intention and Readiness of the Individual in Cyberspace

Deep informal models of person in the context of moral choice, reveal the anatomy of the subjective person’s world in the cyberspace, exposed to IW. The plot is extremely simple. Carrying out a rigorous macro- and microanalysis of the behavior and consciousness of an IPO individual at the macro level, we see a person — a decision-­maker, facing a choice between positive and negative effects, and informational influences in the cyberspace, pushing them to the opposite poles. At the micro level, we see a detailed picture of the course of moral choice. At one time, the result of this microanalysis was a major psychological discovery that determined the difference between the subjective intention of the IPO individual and his real willingness to turn this intention into action [5].

A person (like a decision maker) wants to do something, or even carefully plans an action, does not mean that at the last moment they will find the strength in themselves to translate their intention into reality. Thus, in the scheme, the intention should not necessarily turn into a real willingness to perform an action. Such an understanding of intention and readiness can be included in the formal model of the individual represented by expression (4). The variable b corresponds to the intention, which in this case turns out to be related to the self-image of the self-image, that is with a conscious image of oneself. The value b = 1 is a theoretical analogue of the intention to perform a positive action, and b = 0 — to perform a negative. Variable A1 indicates readiness; A1 = 1 is the analogue of willingness to take a positive action, and A1 = 0 is negative.

V. Freedom of Choice in the Cyberspace

The concepts of information-­psychological object and subject are opposed to each other. Unlike an object, a subject can be both a cause and a source of its own activity. This contrast, which is considered obvious, allows us to evaluate the actions of subjects in cyberspace. Considering ourselves only as an information-­psychological object, we could not distinguish our positive or negative actions from such natural phenomena as hurricanes and earthquakes; we would have the opportunity to justify any of our actions by indicating that its cause lies outside of ourselves. When we call something a subject, we assume that “it” has freedom of choice, at least in certain circumstances.

The “freedom of choice” concept means that under certain conditions, the information-­psychological subject in cyberspace is able to accomplish exactly what he wants to accomplish. In other words, any intention of a free being to perform some action can be transformed into a corresponding readiness.

We write the equation of a free subject. The model contains three independent variables: a and c reflect cyberspace, and b corresponds to intention. An information-­psychological subject can be free if there is at least one pair of fixed values a = x and c = y that satisfy the equation

F(y, F(x, b)) ≡ b (5)

that is, with such fixed values of a, a weak intention becomes readiness. This equation can be written as

(b  x)  y ≡ b (6)

It is easy to verify that it satisfies only a pair of values х = 0 и у = 0:

(b → 0) → 0 ≡ b (7)

Thus, the information-­psychological subject has the freedom to choose actions, in our sense, only under the condition that the environment of the cyberspace inclines them to commit harmful influences (c = 0) and the information-­psychological subject knows this (a = 0).

We see that even a very simple model of informational impact, based on purely intuitive reasoning, can reflect many features of a person’s external and internal activity in the cyberspace, including their ability to choose freely.

VI. Metachoice in Infoconflict

People are able to consciously build programs for their future behavior in the cyberspace. In the framework of such programs, the commission of certain actions may depend on events that have not yet occurred. Imagine an IPO individual who has decided to act always contrary to the impact of the environment of the cyberspace. If the cyberspace inclines them to commit a malicious action (c = 0), the individual has an intention to resist the commission of a malicious action (b = 1); if the cyberspace requires them to resist the commission of a malicious action (c = 1), the subject has an intention to succumb to negative influence (b = 0). In this case, the intention of the individual is represented by the function b = . The individual formulates a rule in advance, which he will strive to follow, making their future choices [6]. Choosing such a rule is called metachoise. Let us now see how the considered metachoice will be realized in the behavior of the subject. Substituting b =  into expression (4), we obtain

A1 = ( → а) → с = с + ā (8)

The function A1 с + ā represents an algorithm for real selection of a subject. We see that it differs from the function b = , representing its intention. Thus, we conclude that this intention cannot be realized. The program that the individual composed cannot turn into an algorithm of real behavior in the cyberspace. Program b can only be implemented only if

b = b(а, с) (9)

is a solution to the equation

F(c, F(a, b)) = b (10)

This equation has two solutions:

b1 = c, (11)

b2 = c + ā (12)

each of which represents a possible program of future action. We suggest that the cognitive system of the subject of cyberspace solves equation (10). Then the subject of cyberspace choses one of the programs; we call such a choice intentional metachoice and believe that, by doing it, the subject of cyberchoice is free. Thus, in our model, the cyberspace subject can be free not only when choosing the poles (negative and positive actions in the cyberspace), but also when choosing the program for his future election of the poles. After the metachoice is made, the subject of the cyberspace, in each individual situation of the choice of poles, acts in accordance with the program, and the ability to freely choose poles is not realized in it [6].

Since the variable b fulfills both the role of intention and the role of the image of itself inside the image of itself, then making the intentional metachoice, the individual cyberspace at the same time is aware of the actions that he plans.

VII. Conclusions

1. In the model of threats of IPO interaction in cyberspace, two ethical systems are accepted as input. As a result, unity is the dominant attitude in the first ethical system, and confrontation is in the second.

2. The cognitive system of the subject of cyberspace, facing the choice between the alternatives of the negative and positive informational impact of cyberspace on IPO, operates automatically in two dimensions.

3. On the one hand, the system noted above makes “moral calculations”, which can be described in terms of Boolean algebra, on the other hand, it calculates the utility of alternatives described by continuous models. The results of these calculations are combined, establishing a correlation in the act of moral choice, thereby opening the next stage of the study.


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