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Gains, Losses and Unconscious Calculations

Monday 02 October 2017


Our attitudes to loss make us vulnerable online. Here’s how we can nullify the risks – starting with a question

By Oz Alashe, CEO and Founder of CybSafe

Which of these two generous offers would you rather take up?

The first is £1000 in cash with no strings attached.

The second is the chance to win £2000 – but only if a coin toss lands on heads. If it lands on tails, you get nothing.

So it’s £1000 for sure or the chance to win £2000.


Next, which of these two losses would you prefer to suffer?

The first is a £1000 loss, guaranteed.

The second is the possibility of a £2000 loss – but only if a coin toss lands on heads. If it lands on tails, you lose nothing.

Give up the £1000 willingly or take a chance.

Which is it going to be?


Our inherent and illogical attitude to risk

If you’re anything like the average person, you’ll have played it safe in the first scenario and opted for the guaranteed £1000.

But in the second scenario, you’ll have changed your tactic entirely. Faced with a guaranteed loss, you’ll have been happy to gamble for the chance to lose nothing at all.

This isn’t foolproof but it does seem to be the way most of us are wired. When it comes to gains, we prefer to play it safe. But when it comes to losses, our desire to avoid loss is so strong that we’re happy to take risks to avoid a loss entirely.

Sadly, it’s a quirk that leaves us vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Oz Alashe MBE will be discussing why people within organisations find it easy to take risks online as part of his seminar on Wednesday 4th October 13:40 to 14:10 at the IAM Theatre on Human Impact of Cyber Security: Threats to organisation data and ways to mitigate those threats.

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