What Is COMINT, and Why You Should Be Bothered with It

What Is COMINT, and Why You Should Be Bothered with It

COMINT stands for Communications Intelligence. Nonexperts will often use COMINT and SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. SIGINT is the umbrella discipline for signal interceptions, meaning that it covers communications between human individuals or parties, machines, or a combination of those three. Only cryptanalysts and intelligence officers are adept at using COMINT devices. However, there are reasons why regular citizens are supposed to know about COMINT as well. 

The Threat of Electronic Warfare

a military droneWarfare is no longer between countries these days, but also among businesses. Anyone with the right gadgets and knowledge can incite an electronic attack, signal decoder. And just like that, your company’s secrets may be in danger. 

Furthermore, the core of modern electronic warfare is to take advantage of the opponent’s communication system. And although the Internet has become one with us in our daily life, the radio signal is still the most reliable Electromagnetic spectrum to either transmit or receive messages. In fact, modern war technologies like drones and unmanned vehicles rely heavily on the radio wave. 

If you live in a warring region, intercepting hostile signals can be a matter of life and death. You can know that there will be an attack hours before it happens if you can get through the offensive party’s encrypted radio messages. 

The Cores of COMINT

radio officersCOMINT aims at identifying seven details of a signal:

  1. The communicating parties
  2. The location of the communicating parties
  3. The identification of the transmitter
  4. The timing of the communication
  5. The frequencies of the communication
  6. The encryption of the signals, and whether it can be decoded or not. 

Therefore, if you are a cryptography enthusiast, you can buy a radio decoder yourself and try to intercept any ongoing signals on the air. During World War II, groups of people with that interest were called as voluntary interceptors. And among them, Bob King was the most famous one because he was only 16 by the time he was recruited to Radio Security Service (RSS), a division of the British Military Intelligence. However, be careful not to violate your local laws as unauthorized reception is considered a crime in some regions. 

A Good Career

If you are interested in cryptography and intelligence after you read the short information above, you should consider becoming a professional. The average income of an intelligence officer with 5-9 years experience is $83,463 per year. Besides, you will also hold one of the most vital positions in the military, the intelligence officer. Without good intelligence, a whole military operation may be doomed to fail.