Browse Definitions :
Definition

COMINT (communications intelligence)

Communications intelligence (COMINT) is information gathered from the communications of individuals, including telephone conversations, text messages and various types of online interactions.

COMINT efforts seek information about voice, text and signal transmissions and attempts to determine a number of intelligence considerations about them. Intelligence, in this context, is information that gives an organization or individual support for making decisions that are intended to provide them with a strategic advantage. The term is often abbreviated as “intel.”

COMINT activities are intended to determine details about the communications such as:

  • Who the communicating parties are.
  • Where those parties are located.
  • The organizational function of the transmitter.
  • Time and duration of communication.
  • Frequencies and other technical details of note in the transmission.
  • Encryption used and whether it can be decrypted.

Friendly military communications are also monitored similarly as a part of communications security (COMSEC). While intelligence communities in the U.S. have stated that COMINT is concerned only with foreign entities, the Snowden revelations show very similar tactics used on the country’s own citizens. It was disclosed, for example, that the National Security Agency (NSA) had been gathering the communications and related metadata of private citizens since at least 2001.

The term COMINT is often used as a synonym of signals intelligence (SIGINT) but it is actually a subfield of that broader area, which also includes electronics intelligence (ELINT). COMINT, like SIGINT and ELINT, is a term defined by the United States Department of Defense, and a field of data studied by intelligence communities the world over.

See also: Snowden effect

This was last updated in May 2015

Continue Reading About COMINT (communications intelligence)

SearchCompliance

  • information governance

    Information governance is a holistic approach to managing corporate information by implementing processes, roles, controls and ...

  • enterprise document management (EDM)

    Enterprise document management (EDM) is a strategy for overseeing an organization's paper and electronic documents so they can be...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • spam trap

    A spam trap is an email address that is used to identify and monitor spam email.

  • honeypot (computing)

    A honeypot is a network-attached system set up as a decoy to lure cyber attackers and detect, deflect and study hacking attempts ...

  • cracker

    A cracker is someone who breaks into someone else's computer system, often on a network; bypasses passwords or licenses in ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

SearchStorage

  • cloud testing

    Cloud testing is the process of using the cloud computing resources of a third-party service provider to test software ...

  • storage virtualization

    Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple storage devices into what appears to be a single storage ...

  • erasure coding

    Erasure coding (EC) is a method of data protection in which data is broken into fragments, expanded and encoded with redundant ...

Close