Industrial espionage , economic espionage , corporate spying or corporate espionage is a form of espionage conducted for commercial purposes instead of purely national security. While economic espionage is conducted or orchestrated by governments and is international in scope, industrial or corporate espionage is more often national and occurs between companies or corporations. Economic or industrial espionage takes place in two main forms. In short, the purpose of espionage is to gather knowledge about one or more organizations. It may include the acquisition of intellectual property , such as information on industrial manufacture, ideas, techniques and processes, recipes and formulas. Or it could include sequestration of proprietary or operational information, such as that on customer datasets, pricing, sales, marketing, research and development, policies, prospective bids, planning or marketing strategies or the changing compositions and locations of production. As well as orchestrating espionage on commercial organizations, governments can also be targets — for example, to determine the terms of a tender for a government contract. Economic and industrial espionage is most commonly associated with technology-heavy industries, including computer software and hardware, biotechnology , aerospace , telecommunications , transportation and engine technology, automobiles , machine tools , energy , materials and coatings and so on. Silicon Valley is known to be one of the world's most targeted areas for espionage, though any industry with information of use to competitors may be a target. Information can make the difference between success and failure; if a trade secret is stolen, the competitive playing field is leveled or even tipped in favor of a competitor. Although a lot of information-gathering is accomplished legally through competitive intelligence, at times corporations feel the best way to get information is to take it. In recent years, economic or industrial espionage has taken on an expanded definition. For instance, attempts to sabotage a corporation may be considered industrial espionage; in this sense, the term takes on the wider connotations of its parent word. That espionage and sabotage corporate or otherwise have become more clearly associated with each other is also demonstrated by a number of profiling studies, some government, some corporate. The United States government currently has a polygraph examination entitled the "Test of Espionage and Sabotage" TES , contributing to the notion of the interrelationship between espionage and sabotage countermeasures. Economic or industrial espionage commonly occurs in one of two ways. Firstly, a dissatisfied employee appropriates information to advance interests or to damage the company. Secondly, a competitor or foreign government seeks information to advance its own technological or financial interest. A patsy may be initially asked to hand over inconsequential information and, once compromised by committing a crime, blackmailed into handing over more sensitive material. A spy may break into the premises to steal data and may search through waste paper and refuse, known as "dumpster diving". Outsourced industrial producers may ask for information outside the agreed-upon contract. Computers have facilitated the process of collecting information because of the ease of access to large amounts of information through physical contact or the Internet. Computers have become key in exercising industrial espionage due to the enormous amount of information they contain and the ease at which it can be copied and transmitted. The use of computers for espionage increased rapidly in the s. Information has commonly been stolen by individuals posing as subsidiary workers, such as cleaners or repairmen, gaining access to unattended computers and copying information from them. Laptops were, and still are, a prime target, with those traveling abroad on business being warned not to leave them for any period of time. Perpetrators of espionage have been known to find many ways of conning unsuspecting individuals into parting, often only temporarily, from their possessions, enabling others to access and steal information. Information may be stolen in transit, in taxis , at airport baggage counters, baggage carousels , on trains and so on. The rise of the internet and computer networks has expanded the range and detail of information available and the ease of access for the purpose of industrial espionage. Sensitive military or defense engineering or other industrial information may not have immediate monetary value to criminals, compared with, say, bank details. Analysis of cyberattacks suggests deep knowledge of networks, with targeted attacks, obtained by numerous individuals operating in a sustained organized way. The rising use of the internet has also extended opportunities for industrial espionage with the aim of sabotage. In the early s, it was noticed that energy companies were increasingly coming under attack from hackers. Energy power systems, doing jobs like monitoring power grids or water flow, once isolated from the other computer networks, were now being connected to the internet, leaving them more vulnerable, having historically few built-in security features. One of the means of perpetrators conducting industrial espionage is by exploiting vulnerabilities in computer software. Malware and spyware as "a tool for industrial espionage", in "transmitting digital copies of trade secrets, customer plans, future plans and contacts". Newer forms of malware include devices which surreptitiously switch on mobile phones camera and recording devices. In attempts to tackle such attacks on their intellectual property, companies are increasingly keeping important information off network, leaving an "air gap", with some companies building "Faraday cages" to shield from electromagnetic or cellphone transmissions. The distributed denial of service DDoS attack uses compromised computer systems to orchestrate a flood of requests on the target system, causing it to shut down and deny service to other users.
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