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In short, the purpose of espionage is to gather knowledge about an organization s. It may include the acquisition of intellectual property , such as information on industrial manufacture, ideas, techniques and processes, recipes and formulas. Or it could include sequestration of proprietary or operational information, such as that on customer datasets, pricing, sales, marketing, research and development, policies, prospective bids, planning or marketing strategies or the changing compositions and locations of production.
As well as orchestrating espionage on commercial organizations, governments can also be targets — for example, to determine the terms of a tender for a government contract. Padded covers, or deceptive decals are also often used. Economic and industrial espionage is most commonly associated with technology-heavy industries, including computer software and hardware, biotechnology , aerospace , telecommunications , transportation and engine technology, automobiles , machine tools , energy , materials and coatings and so on.
Although a lot of information-gathering is accomplished legally through competitive intelligence, at times corporations feel the best way to get information is to take it. In recent years, economic or industrial espionage has taken on an expanded definition. For instance, attempts to sabotage a corporation may be considered industrial espionage; in this sense, the term takes on the wider connotations of its parent word.
That espionage and sabotage corporate or otherwise have become more clearly associated with each other is also demonstrated by a number of profiling studies, some government, some corporate. The United States government currently has a polygraph examination entitled the "Test of Espionage and Sabotage" TES , contributing to the notion of the interrelationship between espionage and sabotage countermeasures.
Agents and the process of collection[ edit ] Economic or industrial espionage commonly occurs in one of two ways. Firstly, a dissatisfied employee appropriates information to advance interests or to damage the company. Secondly, a competitor or foreign government seeks information to advance its own technological or financial interest. A patsy may be initially asked to hand over inconsequential information and, once compromised by committing a crime, bribed into handing over more sensitive material.
Outsourced industrial producers may ask for information outside the agreed-upon contract. The use of computers for espionage increased rapidly in the s.
Information has commonly been stolen by individuals posing as subsidiary workers, such as cleaners or repairmen, gaining access to unattended computers and copying information from them. Laptops were, and still are, a prime target, with those traveling abroad on business being warned not to leave them for any period of time. Perpetrators of espionage have been known to find many ways of conning unsuspecting individuals into parting, often only temporarily, from their possessions, enabling others to access and steal information.
Information may be stolen in transit, in taxis , at airport baggage counters, baggage carousels , on trains and so on. Sensitive military or defense engineering or other industrial information may not have immediate monetary value to criminals, compared with, say, bank details. Analysis of cyberattacks suggests deep knowledge of networks, with targeted attacks, obtained by numerous individuals operating in a sustained organized way.
In the early s, it was noticed that energy companies were increasingly coming under attack from hackers. Energy power systems, doing jobs like monitoring power grids or water flow, once isolated from the other computer networks, were now being connected to the internet, leaving them more vulnerable, having historically few built-in security features.
Malware[ edit ] One of the means of perpetrators conducting industrial espionage is by exploiting vulnerabilities in computer software. Malware and spyware as "a tool for industrial espionage", in "transmitting digital copies of trade secrets, customer plans, future plans and contacts". Newer forms of malware include devices which surreptitiously switch on mobile phones camera and recording devices.
In attempts to tackle such attacks on their intellectual property, companies are increasingly keeping important information off network, leaving an "air gap", with some companies building "Faraday cages" to shield from electromagnetic or cellphone transmissions. This method was allegedly utilized by Russian secret services, over a period of two weeks on a cyberattack on Estonia in May , in response to the removal of a Soviet era war memorial.
One such operation, "Operation Brunnhilde," operated from the mids until early and made use of spies from many Communist Bloc countries. Through at least 20 forays, many western European industrial secrets were compromised. Writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , Philip Hanson detailed a spetsinformatsiya system in which 12 industrial branch ministries formulated requests for information to aid technological development in their military programs.
Acquisition plans were described as operating on 2 year and 5 year cycles with about tasks under way each year. Efforts were aimed at civilian as well as military industrial targets, such as in the petrochemical industries. Some information was garnered so as to compare levels of competitor to Soviet technological advancement.
Much unclassified information was also gathered, blurring the boundary with "competitive intelligence". After being purchased by private equity group Blackstone , Hilton employed 10 managers and executives from Starwood. Under intense pressure to improve profits,[ clarification needed ] Starwood accused Hilton of stealing corporate information relating to its luxury brand concepts, used in setting up its own Denizen hotels.
Specifically, former head of its luxury brands group, Ron Klein, was accused of downloading "truckloads of documents" from a laptop to his personal email account. National Security Agency claimed that the attacks on Google probably originated from two Chinese universities associated with expertise in computer science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Shandong Lanxiang Vocational School , the latter having close links to the Chinese military. In March Google subsequently decided to cease offering censored results in China, leading to the closing of its Chinese operation.
CyberSitter accused Green Dam creators of copying around lines of code. Lan Lee, et al. A jury acquitted the defendants of the charges with regard to TSMC and deadlocked on the charges with regard to NetLogic. In May , a federal judge dismissed all the espionage charges against the two defendants. The judge ruled that the U. Yue previously filed lawsuits against Symantec Corporation for a similar theft. This would involve allowing both states to take the measures they deem necessary for their self-defense while simultaneously agreeing to refrain from taking offensive steps; it would also entail vetting these commitments.
They contain IP addresses, mobile phone numbers and email accounts with the BND surveillance system containing hundreds of thousands and possibly more than a million such targets. Douglas Bernhardt has characterised "competitive intelligence" as involving "the application of principles and practices from military and national intelligence to the domain of global business";  it is the commercial equivalent of open-source intelligence.
The difference between competitive intelligence and economic or industrial espionage is not clear; one needs to understand the legal basics to recognize how to draw the line between the two.