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Identification friend or foe (or IFF) is a signal code sent by approaching vessels which allows for an entity to distinguish them between friend and foe targets. The code only identifies the craft as a friendly target. If no code is given, the approaching vessel is treated as suspicious. They cannot be treated as "foe" until more is determined, because there are many possible reasons for not sending an IFF response, such as damage to communications systems, or a lackof awareness of the protocol.