Corporate Espionage

Corporate Espionage is the unlawful theft or acquisition of intellectual property, such as key trade secrets and patent information as well as industrial manufacturing techniques and processes, ideas and formulas.

Posing as a competitor's employee in order to learn company trade secrets or other confidential information. Examples of such corporate espionage are: wiretapping a competitor, hacking into a competitor’s computers, or attacking a competitor's website with malware.

Espionage is defined as the act of spying or the use of spies by a government or a company. An example of espionage is when a spy infiltrates the government of another country to learn valuable state secrets.


Industrial espionage is the covert, and sometimes illegal, practice of investigating competitors to gain a business advantage. The target of an investigation might be a trade secret, such as a proprietary product specification or formula, or information about business plans. In many cases, industrial spies are simply seeking data their organization can exploit to its advantage.


An industrial spy may be an insider threat, such as an individual who has gained employment with the company for the purpose of spying or a disgruntled employee who trades information for personal gain or revenge. Spies may also infiltrate through social engineering tactics, for example, by tricking an employee into divulging privileged information.


Spies sometimes physically breach the target organization and investigate the premises. In that case, they might search wastebaskets or copy files or hard drives of unattended computers. Increasingly, the intrusion is through the corporate network. Typically, a targeted attack is conducted to gain initial network access and then an advanced persistent threat is carried out for continued data theft. The capacity of cell phones to record and transmit can also be exploited by leaving a phone in a boardroom, for example, and monitoring a meeting remotely. Recording devices also may be secreted in a variety of items including eyeglasses, pens, and USB sticks.


Individuals are also prey to espionage and many including my brother have had their bank accounts tampered with and even money has been withdrawn. Tricksters commonly break into mobile phones using con artist techniques to find ways to exploit owners. Watch out and take precautions to avoid possible infiltrations.


Take care!

Prof. Carl Boniface


Vocabulary builder:

Posing (n) = affectation, pretentiousness, posturing, pretense, pretending to be someone else. posando como

Covert (adj) = secret, clandestine, undercover, hidden, concealed. Not openly acknowledged or displayed. "Covert operations against the dictatorship" disfarçado

Tampered (v) = interfered, meddled, fiddled, tinkered, altered, damaged, monkey with, fool with, corrupted adulterada

Tricksters (n) = cheats, swindlers, frauds, charlatans, con artist, slippery customer malandras


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