Business Espionage is perhaps one of the fastest growing white collar crimes today. Economic espionage, commercial spying is an act of espionage carried out for commercial reasons rather than purely national security. It includes activities like sabotage of rival companies, hacking into rival companies’ computers, stealing trade secrets, intellectual property and marketing and branding information. Most businesses are concerned about the cyber crime related to internet fraud, credit card frauds, identity theft and financial crimes. The theft of business information for the purpose of commercial advantage is increasingly increasing day by day due to the increasing demand in the market. This article talks about some of the latest developments relating to Business Espionage.
Countermeasures against business espionage or business spying has been in existence since the past decades. However, with the advancement in technology, the threats have grown manifold. There are many sophisticated and state-of-the-art countermeasures like sniffers, video surveillance equipment, closed circuit TV camera systems and satellites that have been designed to detect and prevent the intrusions. With the advent of the internet, the cyber crime has also increased dramatically.
Business Espionage is considered a serious threat to businesses due to the amount of sensitive data that is stolen from them. Economic spying involves the theft of business information and the use of that information for competitive advantage, market penetration, price fixing, product promotion and even debt collection. This practice often affects the suppliers and the customers as well. The main benefits of economic spying are:
There are various types of Business Espionage which are being perpetrated on a daily basis. The two most common types of this crime include theft of confidential data and sabotage of competitors. The theft of confidential data includes emails (emails that contain sensitive information like credit card numbers, security passwords, bank account details etc), phone calls (any communication that contains confidential data), faxes and other written communications. These can either be stolen directly from the computer or remotely through the internet. sabotage of competitors involves the creation of false facts or news about a competitor. This kind of Espionage is used to make the competition look bad in front of their customers and investors.
There are various sophisticated techniques used for executing Business Espionage. Some of the most common techniques used for executing Business Espionage include access control, restricted access control, physical access control and digital access control. Access control involves installing software that requires the customer or supplier to authenticate themselves before they gain access to confidential data or information.
Business espionage can also affect other areas like: procurement, research and development, military defense, aerospace, energy, communications, financial intelligence, engineering, commercialization, government contracts, intellectual property rights, and protection of trade secrets. In most of the cases, the information is obtained through illegal means. However, there are certain exceptions to obtainable if there is an urgent need to know such information. For instance, when it comes to industrial espionage there is no permission required to access another person’s private information; in some cases acquiring information and passing it to the competitors, suppliers or competitors is absolutely legal. Nevertheless, when it becomes necessary to safeguard companies from the threat of corporate crime or espionage it is best to seek professional assistance from qualified intelligence and investigation firms who have experience in dealing with such cases.