Philosophers' View Of Knowledge Essay

Length: 7 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Business Type: Essay Paper: #49075423 Related Topics: Philosophers, Firewalls, Robbery, Hacking
Excerpt from Essay :

Industrial Espionage

Information is an element that can make an astounding difference in terms of succeeding, or attaining a profit, and failure, or attaining a loss in the realm of business. According to Robinson (2003), when a trade secret is stolen, it can either level the playing field, or worse, tip it in favor of the competitor. This aspect is even more intricate as trade secrets are sought after not just by rivaling companies but also by foreign countries as well (Robinson, 2003). This is done with the hope that the embezzled corporate data and information can be employed to enhance the competitive advantage of that country in the international marketplace (Robinson, 2003). Even though plenty of information collection is attained by scrutinizing and going over public records such as filings and databases, the paramount way of getting proper information is simply by taking it (Robinson, 2003).

Industrial espionage as well as extraneous economic collections are considered to be a considerable and mounting threat to the success and security of the United States (FSS, 2011). Because most of the business activities, and also the generation of new conceptions, currently take place in cyberspace, this has only increased the likelihood of such threats. Mischievous actors, in the form of tarnished insiders, or foreign intelligence services (FIS) can easily steal and transfer numerous amounts of data or information and at the same time remain mysterious and very difficult to detect (FSS, 2011).

Impact of Industrial Espionage on Companies and Individuals

Any form of business whose source of revenue or means of support is reliant on information should be wary of the threat that is corporate espionage. The information or data being sought after could be lists of clienteles, employee records, prototype strategies, blueprints for a new product or service, supplier contracts, and research documents (Robert, 2002). This sort of information or data could be of immense financial benefit to a competitor or individual, whereas its loss could have a disparaging and adverse financial impact on a company (Robinson, 2003). Pretty much any information collected from a company could be employed or utilized to conduct fraud, extortion, blackmail, or scams against the corporation or the personnel who work there (Williams, 1999; Robinson, 2003). For instance, a consumer list could be sold to a rival company, or utilized by a sales representative to create and boost his own company, and in doing so would have an impact on the profitability and success of the victim corporation (Robinson, 2003).

Companies are continuously enacting and implementing technology more rapidly in comparison with the manner in which they institute policies and mechanisms to defend themselves from potential Industrial Espionage (Robinson, 2003). With company infrastructures becoming more welcoming and intricate, in order to handle more cultured and refined applications, isolated consumers and users, distant workplaces and free-lancers, companies will increasingly come to be more vulnerable to impositions and information robbery (Robinson, 2003). In spite of the possible risks, security is unfortunately a second thought or late addition for the majority of corporations (Robinson, 2003). At present, only a small number of companies expend the resources required to train personnel or to obtain hardware and software required to supervise and safeguard their computers and systems (Robinson, 2003). The main reason behind this is because companies do not like to use resources and capital on an issue that they do not perceive they have (Robinson, 2003).

According to Edwards (2000), in the year 1999, about 1,000 corporations experienced losses of $45 billion due to theft of trade secrets, as per the results of a survey conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers and the American Society for Industrial Security. In the present day, according to Robinson (2003), it is approximated that the theft of trade secrets is worth about $100 billion. Attaining precise statistics on corporate espionage is very difficult and challenging because most corporations do not want to make it known that they have become a victim of industrial espionage. In addition, most of the companies opt not to report such theft to the authorities due to fear that when such information is made public it could cause plummeting of its share price or perhaps interfere with ongoing major transactions (Robinson, 2003). Financial institutions such as banks are infamous for failing to report breaches in their network systems, because they do not want the federal government scrutinizing their systems or even more so interrogating their practices and strategies....


On the other hand, small businesses and companies choose not to report any sort of incidences of corporate espionage as they are afraid that their trading partners might choose not to continue doing business with them once it is revealed that their systems and networks are not fully secure or are vulnerable (Robinson, 2003).

The Mission -- Information Retrieval

Taking into consideration that there are tools and players already, what sort of information do corporate spies in particular seek to find? According to Robinson (2003), in essence any digital, as well as hardcopy, data or information can be of value to rival companies and competitors in the market. The more information a competitor gains, the more useful it becomes to understand and/or predict the actions, strategies, practices, and policies of the firm being 'hacked'. In the end, the objective is to get the better of a company and attain the competitive edge (Robinson, 2003). Some of the information sought after by competitors include:

i. Marketing and new product plans

ii. Source code(s)

iii. Corporate strategies

iv. Manufacturing, technological operations

v. Target markets and prospect information

vi. Plant closures and development vii. Usual business methods viii. Product designs, research and costs

ix. Alliance and contract arrangements: delivery, pricing, terms

x. Company Websites

xi. Customer and supplier information xii. Merger and acquisition plans xiii. Financials, revenues, P&L, R&D budgets xiv. Marketing, advertising and packaging expenditures

xv. Pricing issues, strategies, lists xvi. Staffing, operations, org charts, wage/salary (Robinson, 2003).

Other sources of data that are sought after include employee records, such as their medical records, their social security number(s), salaries, and also performance reviews.

Impact on the Economy

During the present post-Cold War epoch, increasing global economic competition has redefined the perspective for espionage as countries bond their state security to their economic safekeeping (Fraumann, 1997). Trademarked economic data preordained to be secret is embezzled with losses approximated in the amounts between $24 billion and $100 billion (Fraumann, 1997). According to Fraumann (1997), in this climate of mistrust and suspicion, state intelligence services are intensifying and escalating from their former principal single-minded focus on military secrets, to gathering economic secrets, also known as economic espionage. From the time the Cold War came to an end, the most dangerous offenders have been former military allies of the United States. According to Fraumann (1997) economic espionage is likely to be a great danger to the future economy of the United States, yet beyond the intelligence community, very few are aware of it (Fraumann, 1997).

The gathering of sensitive economic information by foreign collectors is conducted in cyberspace with the use of mischievous software, pervasive cyber tool sharing, utilization of system and network hackers as indirect means, and channeling of operations, often through countries to the south of the U.S., making it quite challenging to attribute accountability for computer network impositions (FSS, 2011). Cyber tools have heightened the economic espionage danger, and the Intelligence Community (IC) magistrates consider the use of such tools to already be a superior threat compared to customary espionage approaches (FSS, 2011).

Companies incur numerous costs and expenses as a result of economic espionage, due to the loss of distinctive and matchless intellectual property with potentially massive expenses for remediation. However, no consistent approximations of the financial value of these remediation expenses are presently available (FSS, 2011). Several corporations are uninformed when their delicate data is stolen, and those that become aware are time and again unwilling to reveal the loss, due to concern for the probable damage to their status with financiers, consumers, and personnel (FSS, 2011). In addition, victims of trade secret theft use dissimilar techniques to approximate their losses. Number of the victim companies base the loss approximations on the concrete costs of developing the stolen information, whereas others use the cost(s) of imminent incomes and proceeds (FSS, 2011).

Who are the Perpetrators?

With the advancement of computers and the internet, it has become easier to steal trade secrets. Being in the information era, it is not really necessary for a thief to break into an office and steal a file cabinet that is full of data and information (Robinson, 2003). As technology use has increased and greatly developed, it is quite easy for a thief to process copies of digital data and information into discs, or even send it through emails via the internet to an account and retrieve it much later. As is said, "information is power" and having power transforms to having money; the corporate realm in particular has a lot of information (Robinson, 2003). Perceptibly exclusive information such…

Sources Used in Documents:


Edwards, C. (2000). Retrieved 20 August 2015 from:

Edwards, C. (2001). High-Tech Spy vs. Spy. Retrieved 20 August 2015 from

Edwin, F. (1997). Economic Espionage: Security Missions Redefined. Public Administration Review. Vol. 57, No. 4, pp. 303-308

Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. economic secrets in cyberspace. (2011). Report to Congress on foreign economic collection and industrial espionage, 2009-2011
Robert, I. (2002). Improvised Technology In Counter-Intelligence Applications. Retrieved from
Robinson, S.W. (2003). Corporate Espionage 101. Information Security Reading Room. Retrieved from
Williams, J. (1999). Infowar: Corporate Hacking. Retrieved form

Cite this Document:

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