COMINT (Communications Intelligence) is part of a larger type of intelligence called “Signals Intelligence (SIGINT),” which is intelligence gathered through the interception of signals.
Aside from COMINT, SIGINT also includes Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), a type of intelligence gained from intercepting electronic signals that are not necessarily used in communication.
Communications Intelligence refers to any intelligence gleaned by intercepting channels, such as text messaging, telephone, email, instant messaging, and other online and electronic means of communication. Armed forces used it in World War II and continue to do so as part of national security protection.
The core target of COMINT is communication between people. Consequently, most of the COMINT techniques involve any means of communication, including voice interception.
Voice interception is a fundamental COMINT technique, requiring specialists to listen to leaks in voice communications via radio, telephone, and cellular network. Aside from leaks, specialists may also employ wiretapping to intercept voice communications.
Another COMINT technique, signal interception, is where COMINT specialists intercept the signaling channel instead of a specific voice communication channel. This COMINT technique allows units to access the whole digital signal link carrying countless voice communications.
There’s also text interception. Several technologies allow even governments, cyber attackers, and regular people to intercept text messages. In national security, armed forces focus more on intercepting cryptography than the usual text messages sent by one individual to another.
COMINT strategies are often associated with the interception of foreign communications to strengthen national security. However, COMINT involves much more.
Sometimes COMINT agents need to focus on friendly communication channels. Although controversial, many experts in this area believe the vertical aspect of COMINT is essential because some members of an organization could be relaying critical information over an unsecured or inappropriate network.
These costly and dangerous mistakes may be abruptly detected and mitigated by listening to friendly communications.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Fundamentals of Communications Intelligence (COMINT), a 2-day bootcamp style customized course covering all aspects of Communications Intelligence (COMINT).
This includes Advanced Network Characterization (ANC), SATCOM, UHV/VHF/H, microwave, mmWave, Digital Land Mobile Communication (DLMC), 4G/5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, BLE, IoT, and optical signals are analyzed utilizing the latest technologies and COMINT methodologies in the SIGINT field are discussed.
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