Sunday, March 2, 2014

Business Espionage: Rival CEO Posed as Exec to Get Secrets

The CEO of a sporting goods chain who once appeared on the TV show "Undercover Boss" pretended to be an executive from a rival company in an effort to get confidential information, according to a lawsuit.

Artist's conception. Not a real executive spying.
Dick's Sporting Goods claims in a lawsuit filed Feb. 20 in Mercer County Court that Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods, showed up at a Dick's store in Princeton in February saying he was a Dick's senior vice president.

Dick's alleges Modell told employees he was to meet the Dick's CEO there and persuaded workers to show him the backroom of the store and to answer questions about the business. Modell gathered information about online sales, including a "ship from store" program that gets products to customers' doors quickly, the lawsuit said. (more)

Security Director Alert: Like electronic eavesdropping, business espionage via social engineering is one of the more common spy tricks. In addition to TSCM, make employee awareness about social engineering part of your counterespionage strategy. This story makes an excellent talking point.