Cyber Weaponry pp 143-156 | Cite as

No Smoking Gun: Cyber Weapons and Drug Traffickers

  • Henry Prunckun
Part of the Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications book series (ASTSA)


Drug trafficking is a criminal threat of billion-dollar proportions. Drug traffickers exercise international influence and Australian policymakers therefore need to reconsider the framework on which current policy rests. If the so-called war-on-drugs is couched in those terms, then it makes sense to explore a war-like approach—the use of information warfare to defeat drug traffickers’ information processes that are vital to supporting their worldwide financial networks as well as their command and control arrangements. This chapter promotes discussion about a drugs policy that focuses on attacking the source of the illicit drug problem using cyber weapons.


Cyber weapons Drug trafficking Psyops Offensive weapons Organized crime 



The author thanks the editors of the Australian Defence Force Journal (Prunckun 2005) and the Journal of the Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (Prunckun 2007) for permission to use his previously published material.

Principal Concepts

The principal concepts associated with this chapter are listed below. Demonstrate your understanding of each by writing a short definition or explanation in one or two sentences:
  • dark net;

  • drug-trafficking organizations;

  • fourth-generation warfare; and

  • war-on-drugs.

Study Questions

  1. 1.

    Explain why organized criminal enterprises, in general, are a threat to civil society, and specifically, why are those that deal in illicit drugs?

  2. 2.

    Explain why IT-based systems are important to drug-trafficking organizations’ illicit operations.


Learning Activity

Research the military term psyops and read about what it is and how it is used in warfare—both historically and in a contemporary setting. Then, using these examples as an ideas springboard, brainstorm parallel ideas that could be used in cyberspace; particularly, how disinformation could be used to undermine the confidence of drug traffickers’ personnel, partners, and/or third-party supporters in the legitimate world. List potential ethical implications of such a campaign and how, perhaps using legal advisors, you could keep the psycop within the restraints expected in law.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Graduate School of Policing and SecurityCharles Sturt UniversitySydneyAustralia

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