Sunday, November 10, 2013

Corporate espionage: The spy in your cubicle

Corporate espionage from a German perspective...
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, even though he in fact ordered five. And 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. 

Since 2001, some 61 percent of German companies have fallen prey to these or similar crimes. In 2013, by comparison, just 45 percent of German firms were entangled in such an affair. Those were the conclusions of a study conducted by business consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PCW) together with Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). For the study, more than 600 German companies, each with at least 500 employees, were examined every two years... the areas of "industrial espionage, economic espionage and the leaking of work and business secrets," there have been frighteningly high numbers of suspected cases. And there could be far more, the analyst added, since being spied upon doesn't necessarily mean that you know it's happening. Corruption ends with prosecutors knocking at the door; an inventory check usually clears up theft. But with spying, "Nothing is gone." (more)

Part of the Security Scrapbook's reason for being is that last sentence. Tracking some of the business espionage stories per year indicates the size of the problem. 

Example: If 1% of business espionage is discovered, and 1% of discovered business espionage becomes news, then 50 business espionage news stories equals 500,000 business espionage attacks — 499,950 of which were successful. Adjust the percentages to suit yourself, but you get the idea. 

The point is, you won't know when your intellectual and strategic pockets are being picked. Especially, if you are not checking regularly. 

Call me. I can help.