Two apparently unrelated op-ed published on the New York Times a few weeks ago provide good food for thought to our community of cybercrime fighters.
The first one, “Cybersecurity: A View From the Front” is by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, and delivers two messages:
- Cybersecurity should be seen as an enabler of our society, not a cost.
- “A small, poor East European country can be a world leader in e-governance and cybersecurity”.
In other words, anyone who is agile and work to be useful to his community has unprecedented opportunities.
The second article, “Need a job? Invent it” by the columnist Thomas L. Friedmann talks about the skills that young people – and more broadly people of all ages - need to acquire. He rightly stresses that what we most need is not so much knowledge but skills: critical thinking, communication and collaboration, all of this driven by motivation, and aiming at innovation. This statement brings nothing new fundamentally, as the French philosopher Montaigne in the 16th century was already urging parents to choose a tutor “who has rather a well-made than a well-filled head “ (and Montaigne himself had probably found something similar in his library of Greek and Roman philosophers). But it reminds us how similar our modern times are to the European Renaissance, when suddenly people had access to an unprecedented volume of information, and could get drowned into it. Mr Friedmann highlights one country where students leave high-school “innovation ready”, which means that they have the ability to add value to whatever they do. And this country is Finland, another small country, which is just on the other side of the Gulf of Finland, a hundred kilometres North of Estonia.
All of us in this Octopus Community share the same passion for fighting cybercrime. For the rest, we have very little in common, our expertise (mainly law or forensics), our professional career (professors, investigators, magistrates, lawyers, experts), our culture, all these parameters contribute to make difficult for us to work together as we come from different perspectives and pursue different objectives in our career. Oh yes, I forgot something that brings us together: we are a very small community, which works within a relatively small international organization (no offence to Alexander, as we love the Council of Europe and its commitment to fighting cybercrime!) and we are facing the daunting challenge of protecting our countries, our industry, our family from a sophisticated enemy with very little resources.
So, what’s the future for us a community? Be the committed experts that are on the path to lose the war against cybercrime? Or do for cybercrime what Estonia does for cybersecurity? Shall this community be a place where we deliver our expertise, or shall it be a place where we invent our job?
We can do both of course, but I would propose we try to do the latter. Now I expect your next question : “- What do you mean in practice”? In our job, I think we should aim at innovating. This means work differently so we can become more efficient. It may be as simple as sharing more information with different teams on the new trends we have seen, or the latest case we have been working on. In this community, it may be as simple as bringing our questions, very much like Victor Voelzow did a few days ago with his excellent post “Thoughts on the benefits of cross-country cooperation and communica...”.
We have the motivation to fight cybercrime, the Octopus Cybercrime Community provides us with a place to communicate and collaborate, we are a solid group of people with critical thinking.
What we need now is to innovate. Let’s invent together how tomorrow we will fight cybercrime! We are experts, but we should rather define ourselves as innovators.
At the next Octopus conference, on the badge where we have our name, I suggest the Council of Europe should replace the title “Expert” by “Innovator”. Because this is what we are in this Community, right?