Stephen Covey originally coined the terms “scarcity mentality” and “abundance mentality” in his best-selling book “the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The concept “in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others” is the latter – the abundance mindset. Covey contrasts this way of thinking with the scarcity mindset (destructive and unnecessary competition), based on the belief that if someone else wins in a situation, that means you lose; and will never consider the possibility of all parties winning in a certain situation.
When applying this concept to cybercrime, where individuals or customers need to certify their identity when logging into their online banking accounts or during client onboarding, people and organisations tend to adopt this mindset of scarcity, arguing that we must reveal as little information about ourselves as possible, so the hackers have less chance of successfully scamming their victims.
Most businesses and societies tend to embrace this approach to work to because they think it is the best way to keep our information and identities safe. Yet, the latest figures from the Gemalto Breach Level Index indicate that 4.5 billion records were compromised in just the first six months of this year, so clearly something isn’t working. An adoption of the reverse abundance mindset results in greater cooperation amongst stakeholders to strengthen the fight against cyber criminals and establish secure processes of online identification and authentication.
It’s important to remember that in terms of tackling cybercrime, there is no competition. This factor really lends itself to the abundance mindset because the end goal amongst all businesses, law enforcement, regulators and industry bodies, is to overcome cybercrime. Therefore, one would expect an already universal unified approach from government and industry which should be followed in a clear and straight forward process. Although there has already been a degree of collaboration in the financial services sector, with the aim to quash the problem, such as the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT), the reality is that people are holding onto the scarcity mentality and keeping their intel private, meaning that there is not enough collaboration happening. There is a real fear that releasing any confidential information could increase one’s chance of a data breach or cyber-attack.
Cybercriminals tend to operate on an international level. Without a unified approach, stakeholders are disadvantaging themselves by not acting in the same way through offering resources to other governments and financial organisations. If an abundance mentality is adopted, stakeholders are more likely to want to communicate their experiences of attacks and crimes. When this mentality has been utilised, meaningful progress will be achieved in tackling cybercriminal activity and securing a trustworthy identification process.
Recognition from international bodies has brought to attention the importance of the abundance mentality. In 2014, we even saw INTERPOL launch the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore, an organisation that “leverages global cyber-expertise from law enforcement and key private sector partners”. But sadly, cybercrime issues are omnipresent meaning one organisation cannot have full responsibility to take the initiative. Therefore, it is down to the involvement of all businesses to fully stop hacking attempts.
To resolve this problem, one solution is the creation of credible means of online identification. Currently, organisations have an inability to do so, which puts them at high risk of attack. Fortunately, progress has been made with the World Identity Network (WIN) who have partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to establish a Platform for Good Digital Identity earlier this year. By seeking to advance global progress towards digital identities, the Platform ensures that digital identities satisfy at least five criteria: they are fit for purpose, inclusive, useful, secure, and offers choice to individuals, which should make steps towards alleviating the issues stated above. Increased cooperation on an international will demonstrate the abundance mindset to permeate throughout corporations around the world.
Partnerships from international organisations and continued future collaborations will be a highly significant part of working towards a resolution to overcome the obstacles in the battle against cybercrime. Eventually, we will see a diminution in cybercrime, as we live in an age where the sharing of achievements and reserves on large social platforms becomes the norm. Soon we will be able to continue to enjoy a digital lifestyle without the fear of having our identities compromised.