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NOTE: Remember to look at previous and more current postings for other topics.

Apologies in advance folks, this one is a bit longer than what I had intended, but, well – I get passionate sometimes on some topics. I’d recommend not reading this one in one sitting.

With everything going on in the world, we do need better Intelligence on cyber activities (security / malware) as we attempt to keep our business safe.
We need better intelligence to get ahead of the curve. And it is not specifically just national or international Intelligence I’m referring to, it is also Business Intelligence requiring successful results. You know – corporate/industrial espionage or even just for plain ole competitive intel. We need more cognitive diversity to achieve better efficacy.

The crux of the matter however, is that we need to become more innovative and more collaborative with our colleagues, our internal / external teams, our subordinates, our leaders and our allies. We have to do this collaboration more smartly, hopefully with more innovative methodologies and technologies. But we have to do it without compromising privacy and compliance (financial, medical) – we do not need to perform illegal activities to gain what is needed. There is no place for breaking any levels of integrity or ethics in doing our jobs. We cannot afford to shoot ourselves in the foot trashing laws just because we want to in order to do our job.

The thing is, this is really tough. How do we continue to come up with newer or better methods of innovative and strategy Intelligence? And then share gained intelligence with more people who actually need it, so as to avoid “stove piping” those efforts and without giving away our efforts to any adversaries:
==> Criminals – Hackers – Hacktivists – Foreign nation states and their institutions or sponsorships…

We need to get better at long term strategic goals, not just the ‘right now,’ short term thinking that far too many individuals AND businesses and federal/state agencies engage in. We need long range thinkers; the Chinese do it and have done so for decades – look at all the 5, 10 and 20 year plans they keep putting out. Yes, I did state 20, because the Chinese government does plan that far out.

We need people in positions of leadership that will actually take the time to listen to those around them and below them and be bold enough to sponsor/champion (take your pick) long range initiatives – even if there is no immediate payoff or payback by tomorrow or next week or even this month.
We need spending / funding to plan for and follow through with longer range thinking, strategic thinking and yes, innovative thinking.

You cannot tell me that there are not enough smart (smarter) people out there with great ideas? They just may need some coaxing to pull forth more interesting ideas. We need folks who will willingly share their ideas and not hoard them, to the detriment of the rest of us, in order to make them appear more important or “special.”
These folks could come from disparate fields such as research, or math, or history, or finance – they don’t have to always be a Computer scientist/engineer/SME or an Intelligence Analyst/Officer.

We need individuals from various diverse areas of knowledge; this is what Microsoft has done for years now. They went out and hired people from all walks of life to help make the Microsoft product lines a better line of products.

Someone in the Intelligence field once told me that it is easier/better to take a computer literate person and make them an effective Intelligence Analyst/Officer versus the other way around. I believe that. This and Microsoft’s hiring methodology are ways we need to look at the Intelligence fields (federal / business).

And I believe it is easier to teach someone, someone who is interested, the various aspects of Intelligence. Looking at areas of interest without blinders and by that I mean, perception bias, confirmation bias – basically filtering out different things because one is uncomfortable with something new or they do not feel that certain areas are worth pursuing. I recommend a book by Eli Pariser on “The Filter Bubble.” You don’t have to read the entire book because you will definitely get the point straight away that many people create their own filter bubble – seeing and hearing what they desire, even if that content is not the best information available. As one example, all you have to do is look at some of the battles between Conservatives and Democrats.
Climate change or no climate change – YOU make your own informed decision.

So, when it comes to Intelligence, and cybersecurity, one has to ‘objectively’ look at info and make an informed decision – use multiple sources for your data gathering and then make that decision. One cannot make any rational or valid objective choice or reporting on just one or two sources. It is, well, suicide.
Next, there is more to it than looking at multiple sources. One has to have the perspective of ‘the other.’ Basically putting yourself in the shoes of the other and see how that person might perceive some item of news or content. You have to make yourself think in different spectrums to get the best results. You have to make yourself think differently. Having a broad, diverse background helps with doing so.

Several years ago, during an Intelligence Analyst training course, we were at one location, on a field trip, where the host asked the group (about 35 of us) if anyone could identify what he was pointing at. No one answered so I spoke up, I said it was a mangled jet/turbine engine. He was surprised that any of us would know the answer because he paused before he asked me “How did you know that?” I told him that it appeared to be a complex engine and that regular gasoline engines are more easily identifiable. In addition, I did read a lot on multiple topics, I do as much observation as possible when I’m looking at various objects/scenes and that I enjoy attempting to perform deductive and abductive reasoning when I can, with the information available to me at hand.

So, do we need:
a) Better diverse, strategic and innovative thinking and planning?
b) Deep, thoughtful thinking and planning for the next decade?
c) More cognitive diversity in our various teams?
d) Leaders who will listen and make solid attempts to get out of that stolid, stale, archaic square box of yesterday and open their eyes, ears, heart and minds to something new from someone junior to them…?
e) It now?
===>>> The answer of course, is ‘Yes,’ to all them.

In the end, it also boils down to context and the situation. They both change in numerous incalculable ways, sometimes too many to count. Just keep that in mind and remember the context of what you’re working with and the situation you find yourself in.

Note, I do not have 15 – 20 years of Intel experience but I make up for it combining other areas of knowledge, training, experience and commonsense. But I do have many, many years of computer and cybersecurity experience and I have a broad and diverse background…

Deduction – working your way forward from some point (from a to b)
Abduction – working your way backward (from b back to a)