Corporate Espionage

Corporate espionage is an illicit act of gathering secret information from the government or business competitors through spying. The companies that conduct corporate espionage offer financial gifts to the spies. The spy is expected to collect certain information from the business competitor. In the USA, the society of competitive intelligence illustrated that numerous companies spent huge amounts of funds spying on one another. The main reason of conducting corporate espionage is to gain advantage over the other businesses. Many companies employ professional individuals to act as spies. Commonly, these companies employ people that have worked in the government or the military as spies. In order to surpass the competitors, these corporations spend an enormous amount of money to attain vital information. These spies are placed in good positions within the company with the intention of gaining information from the competitors. They work within the alleged reason of competitive intelligence (Perez, 2012).

Corporate espionage is conducted for pure commercial benefits. Generally, economic espionage is conducted by governments internationally, while corporate espionage occurs between firms within a country. Corporate espionage tolerates theft of trade secrets through recording or removing of secretive and important information by a business competitor. Corporate espionage is carried out for profitable reasons instead of national security reason. This act is very different from competitive intelligence. Competitive intelligence involves collecting information legally by scrutinizing corporate website, patent filings, and publications. These corporate documents portray information about activities that are carried out in the firm. Competitive intelligence is a legal mode of inspecting the competitors in order to determine the reasons behind their success. Corporate espionage can be carried out through various ways such as technological surveillance, blackmail, theft of trade secrets, and bribery. Firms that are technologically advanced are commonly involved in corporate espionage.

In an instance, information theft among the companies is common. Particular data can make a difference in productivity and effectiveness of a corporation. Information in the corporate world determines the success and failure of a corporation. When a company steals a trade secret, it gains advantage over the competitor. Competitive intelligence is an effective method of gathering information from the competitors. Certain corporations opt using an illegal way of corporate espionage to take information. Companies that depend on information for livelihood should not engage in corporate espionage to gain data. Firms that accused of corporate espionage suffer great losses. It is clear that many corporations are developing a way of controlling the security of their data. Despite intense security, vital data finds a way out to the competitors. These competitors embezzle information with a key-logger or USB drive. These devices are capable transferring information in and out of the system. Information embezzlement could also be carried out through the Internet. Certain corporations have taken the initiative to secure their wireless sector. Companies that perform corporate espionage steal online information through techniques such as WI-FI (Perez, 2012). This method aids them in acquiring sufficient corporate information. A trained spy is capable of accessing writable devices and ports by hacking. They also employ password cracking devices to gain access. On the other hand, cases of corporate espionage could occur through the staff in the company.

For instance, a system administrator in a company that governs customer data for banks and credit card issuers could hack into a computer and steal customer data. Such a case would cost the company a lot of money through compensation. The employees who work in the company are good sources of information. The employees engage in corporate espionage in order to satisfy their needs or for malice. Some of the employees could take pleasure in damaging the company thus leaking important information. Corporate espionage could occur in two different ways. It could occur through an employee gathering information for personal interests. It could also occur through competitor gathering information for financial interests. Ironically, the most trusted employees in a company commit corporate espionage. Employees that commit this crime could be caused by pressure, personal interests, and inducement. Certain individuals decide to leave a firm and get employed in another firm. These employees leave and take vital data with them. These employees are put in the category of committing corporate espionage. This behavior has been highly considered as corporate espionage thus leading to legal battles.  Certain behavioral changes among the employees could suggest that they are involved in corporate espionage. They may engage in carrying out duties even during the odd hours. Some of the employees may get data in hard copy or computer disks without authorization. Others copy classified data unnecessarily. Perpetrators of espionage in a company develop personal relations with the competitors and other unauthorized people (The Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2012). It is important to monitor the employees closely in order to identify cases of espionage. Individuals that are involved in academics, business and students are often employed by governments and corporations to gather data.  These individuals employed as spies by the corporation could be a cleaner, an inspector, a maintenance man or an engineer. The spy is expected to have at least valid access to the property. Data from the firm could also be accessed through unsolicited requests, software facilities, and technical aids. Computers have made it easy to gather data because it is simple to have access to great amounts of data physically or through the Internet.  

In corporate espionage, data is very vital for the effective performance of the firm. Computers have turned out to be a major component in conducting corporate espionage. It is clear that stealing data through technological means such as through computer is advantageous because it copies and transmits a lot of data. Over the years, corporate espionage has increased especially with the advancement of technology. Still, data is also stolen from the computers by coping information from unattended computers in the workplace. Other employees in the company such as the cleaners and repairmen also gain unsupervised acquisition of data. They strive in acquiring this information because of an inducement.  Currently, executors of corporate espionage are also targeting laptops. Many people travel with the portable machine to countries abroad for business. It is dangerous to abandon such a machine for a period of time in public because an individual could access the data in the laptop. These perpetrators are solely interested in the information. The information could be very sensitive, and a case of its mishandling could sabotage the business. These executors of corporate espionage are very creative in developing ways of swindling unsuspecting people into parting from their belonging giving them the chance to access data. Other people engaged in corporate espionage involve hotel staff to access data in the hotel room. They access the possessions of their customers from the hotel rooms.

The increased application rate of the Internet and computer networks has enlarged the range of data available. Globally, numerous companies have experienced cyber attacks. The rate of cyber attacks among the companies has increased. Commonly, complicated techniques of accessing financial and analytical data is highly sponsored by the government or large corporations. This type of corporate espionage cannot be performed by the cybercriminals or individual hackers solely. On the other hand, vital information from the engineering, industrial, and military departments could not have instant monetary value to criminals. These departments would require advanced techniques of performing corporate espionage. Criminals would not be highly interested unless with support and inducement. Criminals would be highly interested in bank details such as credit card details.  Corporate espionage performed through cyber attacks would require high acquaintance with the network, an intended attack, and many people working in an organized manner.

In the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's spies do not intend to draw attention to its performance. However, they are upholding a campaign to stop alien spies from embezzling trade secrets from companies in the United States of America. The government finds vital to address the issue of corporate espionage by creating awareness among people about its detrimental effects to the state. Companies should cease performing stealing trade secrets because many people lose their jobs at a time of economic struggle. In the US, the Federal bureau of investigation approximated that many companies had incurred huge financial losses because of stolen trade secrets. For instance, the Lubrizol firm lost a huge amount of money because an employee used a thumb drive to acquire details of its products. The employee gave the details to the competitors. In this case, the company experienced a great loss that even the employee could not repay (Perez, 2012). The FBI suggests that companies should also be cautious with the makers of software.

Corporate espionage is not entirely inevitable. Therefore, corporations should perform activities that could inhibit people from embezzling important data. It should be the firm’s priority to enhance the security of information to avoid theft cases. Corporation should avoid exposing internal network to strangers. The corporation should also ensure to keep all the storage premises secure. Storage areas should not be accessed by unauthorized personnel. Moreover, the information that is currently not in use should always remain encrypted. Information that is not in use should remain unreadable. The information inside storage should be free from unauthorized tampering. The corporation should create access controls that can only be accessed by the individual user. It should be keen in monitoring the data flow and the activities. The firms should continually be vigilant to look out on suspicious activities. It is important to note that employees are also a source of corporate espionage (Espoz, 2012). The corporations should be well acquainted with the cases of corporation espionage in order to control it within the premises. The corporations should have deep knowledge of data theft so as to develop sustainable techniques of protecting it. Information is very important in the business environment. It can easily be used to damage a corporation and make another successful. Therefore, corporations should take the initiative of securing their information. They should also quit corporate espionage because it causes great financial losses. Corporation should rely on competitive intelligence in handling competition (Espoz, 2012).

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