industrial espionage

We could define industrial espionage as the obtaining (by illegal and/or immoral means) of information about a specific company and/or product or prototype.

Although it is an increasingly common practice and it may seem quite new,  we must go far back into history to find the first cases.

The increasing protagonism of industrial espionage is due, in large part, to the growing competition between companies. More and more often, companies try to copy, imitate and even spy on each other. Such is the rise of this practice that in some countries, the number of industrial spies currently exceeds that of political spies.

There are more cases of industrial espionage than we know about. Companies still have some misgivings and prefer not to disclose this information as it could translate into reputation loss and give more advantage to their competitors. As a result, companies spend large sums of money trying to protect themselves from each other. 


Billion dolars is the annual cost according to CSIS

What is the objective of industrial espionage?

Industrial espionage is conducted for different purposes and reasons. Today we will highlight some of them:

    • Theft of designs: By conducting industrial espionage, companies no longer need to perform reverse enginnering tasks. This could help them, for example, to anticipate their competitors and even launch their products beforehand or at a lower price.
    • Theft of prototypes or technologies: Sometimes, companies steal prototypes or technologies from their competitors to improve their own product, copy their competitors or stop new releases.
    • Theft of confidential information to damage the reputation of a company or sell it on the black market.

Some of the sectors most affected by industrial espionage are the automotive, the aerospace, the chemical or the pharmaceutical. However, it is important to highlight that no sector is safe.  Proof of this are the cases that make headlines almost every week. 

How is industrial espionage carried out?

Some of the methods most commonly used by hackers are:

    • Attacks on computer systems
    • Cyber espionage of communications
    • Leaks by employees

What is the profile of the attacker?

    • Unfair employees. In most cases the industrial espionage has its origin in leaks from people linked to the company.  Today, employees are less likely to feel a duty of loyalty to their companies, making it easier to bribe them or find a way to make them betray their company.
    • Professional spies: there are professional agencies dedicated to industrial espionage.
    • International espionage: here we have well-known cases such as the Concorde airplane or the one regarding the chemical company Merck´s. 

What would happen with our web isolation technology RITech?

Some of RITech’s functionalities, such as the control of the browsing clipboard or the possibility to allow/block downloads, to name a couple of them, can help organizations protect themselves against cyber espionage and save large sums of money. If you want to discover what the technology can do for your business, contact us.

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