What is Corporate Espionage?

When we think of Corporate Espionage, we conjure images of double agent spies and MI5, but this could not be further from the truth.

Corporate espionage pertains to any theft of proprietary business information through spying or deception, particularly the theft of trade secrets. Trade secrets encompass any proprietary information that produces value to a commercial enterprise because it provides competitive advantages over business rivals.

Items that can be stolen:

  • Detailed customer lists
  • Product specifications
  • Research and Development data
  • Computer Source codes
  • Corporate strategy documents
  • Pricing lists (e.g, tesco, dunnes stores, lidl, aldi)
  • Technology and computer systems data

No longer do corporate thieves have to physically steal information, now they can hack into IT systems and steal e-mail, customer lists, and other important documents.

Availability of highly trained Black hats makes theft much easier for corporations than previously.

Who is Who in Corporate Espionage

  • Insiders: Staff who legitimately enter into company databases for illegal means.
  • Outside: People employed by other companies to enter the company as a spy.
  • Contractor: An individual, usually a black hat, who remotely enters the companies computer systems.

Corporate Espionage in the News

Corporate espionage: The spy in your cubicle

Even as business crimes decrease, many firms fear industrial espionage more than ever. While the NSA may give them headline-grabbing grounds for feeling that way, the perpetrator is most likely on the company's payroll.

At a trade fair, the head of a company discovers a machine developed by his own employees but at the stand of a competitor, where the new item is proudly displayed. Looking through his company's inventory, he sees four new printers, and yet he knows he ordered five. To top things off, he's having problems with the state prosecutors, who say his firm is implicated in a bribery charge. His company, in short, has fallen victim to industrial espionage three times over. Click here to read more.

It is imperative that you stop any internal trade secret theft, as this can cost your company more than just money. It can jeopardise your company's good name and even lead to legal trouble, meaning you will have to foot the bill for a legal team to ensure you are found innocent. In Ireland, corporate espionage is covered by the Official Secrets Act 1963 and The Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001

We at City Investigations are experienced in internal theft investigations and can identify by internal research and also computer forensics the employees who are costing your company money.