News / Economy

More Kinds of Corporate Spies Target More Kinds of Trade Secrets

FILE -A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet.
FILE -A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet.
TEXT SIZE - +
Efforts to steal trade secrets from U.S. companies continue at a high level and are hitting new targets, in spite of major efforts to stop such industrial espionage. Losing trade secrets hurts the economy by discouraging investments in the research critical to growth.  Some new players are getting into the fray, and the attacks hit a huge variety of businesses from high tech to high fashion.  

Plans for a fighter jet are an obvious target for corporate and other kinds of spies, but experts say industrial espionage also has been aimed at high fashion designers and toymakers, innovative steel makers, food and beverage companies, clean energy research and wind turbine makers.  Corporate spies also are seeking information about the management practices that guide successful businesses.

Mandient corporate security expert Laura Galante says a growing number of companies think security breaches are becoming inevitable.

“2013 was kind of an inflection point for cyber threats and our industry, the cyber security industry, because so many new types of companies were interested in understanding the threat that was their next headache," said Galante.

She says some relatively new players have attacked Western media companies and banks.  The cyberattacks on economic targets are apparently intended to advance political interests of forces in Syria and Iran.

A former federal prosecutor who took many cases of industrial and economic espionage to trial says China is making the most attempts to steal company secrets.  But Peter Toren of the law firm Weisbrod Matteis & Copley says many nations are active in this area.

“I would guess that all of the western European nations are doing it, Russia; Israel is doing it," said Toren.

University of New Haven business Professor George Haley says French spies sought new targets at the end of the cold war.  He spoke via Skype.  

“After the fall of the Soviet Union, they had moved their espionage efforts from primarily political espionage to industrial espionage, to benefit French companies.  So France is definitely there," said Haley.

Experts say companies can spend millions of dollars and years of work creating a better computer program, a lighter and stronger kind of steel or other product.  If another company steals that research, the thief can then create a competing product at a far lower cost and gain a price advantage in the market.  

The author of the book “Restoring Our American Dream,” Michael Farr, says industrial espionage also destroys trust and hurts the economy.  Farr is an investment advisor and says without trust, businesses will not take the risks and make the investments needed to create a growing economy and new jobs.  

"If you really don’t trust me and I really don’t trust you, we could be faced with the best opportunity that we could jointly pursue and we both would back away from it.  So trust is really essential," said Farr.

Peter Toren says companies can protect themselves by making it clear to employees that the company’s prosperity - and their jobs - depend on keeping their technological advantage.  

He says defenses include training that keeps up with the evolving threats, and creating a corporate culture that takes cyber and other security issues seriously.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.