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.
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 Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8143
JPY
USD
119.23
GBP
USD
0.6390
CAD
USD
1.1596
INR
USD
63.304

Rates may not be current.