Malicious software designed to snatch card data, insider trading on confidential information, hackers setting up phony accounts to divert millions...what do all these things have in common? Greed! Let’s be honest, people have been figuring out how to steal
since the beginning. But in today's interconnected and interdependent world they're using much better tools. And the rest of us are still playing catch up.
My grandmother says that the reason thieves get away with crime is because it’s their job. That’s right—while you and I are going off to work, they are spending their time, 24/7, figuring out the best way to take what’s ours. And although God saw fit to
include an admonition against stealing in the Ten Commandments—you remember the one that says “THOU Shall Not Steal”—early Christian teachings recognized that mankind was going to break that one early and often. Why? Greed---the desire for money, wealth
or power beyond the needs of the individual—an explanation for its inclusion as one of the
7 deadly sins. Based on this definition, I think we can all safely assume that recent behavior is really nothing new. The difference between now and the stone tablets... simply a matter of scale and of course response.
Technology has both enabled greed and helped to mitigate its impact. But technology alone cannot be held responsible for security breaches nor can technology alone protect against breaches. Technology is simply a tool as the Sumitomo story proves. It took
human criminality combined with technology to perpetuate the plot and it took human vigilance and technology to reveal it. The simple fact of the matter is that there is no foolproof piece of technology that will protect an organization –at least not as
long as humans are parts of the equation—from greed. But that doesn’t mean that banks, organizations or individuals should just resign themselves to someday being victims. I say let’s bring back the old fashioned idea of shame.
Banks, governments and individuals must move beyond the idea of a “killer app” and begin to think more holistically –more communally-- about how to address all crimes not just cybercrimes. The same way it “takes a village to raise a child”; it will take
a community to prevent a crime. So if the CEO is looting from the company—technology can and probably will detect the issue eventually but people—well let’s be serious no one commits a crime without telling at least one person. Imagine what would happen
if that one person said—“Shame on you” and then told two people who told two people and so on and so on and so on. A little shame goes a long way.