The definition of an emergency should be universal; it should be only applied to situations when lives are in danger. A clear distinction for what constitutes an emergency is necessary in order to tackle it properly with adequate resources. In today’s world, the essence of a true emergency is often misconstrued due to poor planning and a need to get attention to a problem at hand. To put it plainly: while running out of coffee in the morning may seem like an emergency at the time, it truly isn’t.
A mission, in contrast, is more than an assignment to a common task or a vocation; it’s an internal fire that feeds the desire to move you forward to solve all kinds of problems. While speed is important, sometimes, you have to take your time - laying out the pieces to solve the problem before making the final move. What we’re going to talk about is not an emergency, this is about mission.
Before White Ops, I was a team lead for the Cyber Action Team at the FBI. This is the 24/7 rapid response team that responds to critical or sophisticated computer intrusions or other technical related investigations. In 2017, the team was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Information Technology for a solution we developed that revolutionizes the way computer intrusion incidents are investigated on site. As you can imagine, we rose to the challenges that the mission proposed. But we were all driven by a similar desire: we want to leave society a better place than when we found it. And sometimes that meant only getting two days notice to go across the globe for an investigation.
There came a point though in my more than ten years at the Bureau that I started thinking: have I done all the good I could? Have I left society in a better place than when I first started? The answers were a resounding yes, so I started figuring out my next move.
Coming from a heavily mission-driven background, I had a hard time picturing myself somewhere that wasn’t. I still wanted to do good...but maybe with fewer true emergencies. And I wanted to move somewhere where “merely” disrupting crime was still a victory, not a consolation prize for being unable to make charges stick.
I think disruption is good because at the core, it’s playing the long game. Crime is still committed by people, not machines. We use technology to go after cybercriminals. That tech can be incredibly frustrating to criminals; once we poke the right buttons, fraudsters start to make irrational decisions and mistakes are made. They're only human, after all. If I can make it more expensive or more difficult to commit cybercrimes, that’s when they pause and consider other activities outside of cybercrime. It’s not “did we win?” but, “are we making it harder?”
There’s a strong mission here at White Ops. We all know that there’s no way to stop all fraud; crime is a human condition. But we can reduce the players in the field to just a handful by making it easier to catch the more sophisticated bots and cybercriminals. After you’ve gotten rid of the dandelions and weeds in your yard, it’ll be easier to spot the bigger problems. This is a mission. And at White Ops, we’re leaving the Internet better than when we found it.