19 December 2007
Corporate espionage – separate fact from fiction
Leading UK private investigation and security consultants, Investigator Limited, find that just about all corporate espionage is accomplished with decidedly simple, but preventable methods.
There’s a widespread misconception that corporate espionage is a high-tech crime committed by slick James Bond types with mini cameras or genius computer hackers, and there is no doubt this level of espionage does occur, but generally nothing could be further from the truth.
Investigator Limited’s founder and director, Barry Schofield says, “corporate spies are perfectly happy to get information from the easiest, sometimes most overlooked sources, such as waste bins or unattended computers. These sources are in fact preferable as they involve less risk. More often than not, the offender is a disgruntled employee, or someone at director level trying to either set up in competition or giving a company’s intellectual rights away to a competitor for either reward or revenge. Enlisting the help of a professional consultant may be a difficult decision to make, but at Investigator Limited, we work with you in effectively overseeing all of your security needs. Security is sometimes a necessity, but should always work in harmony with the business it is designed to protect”.
Internal company correspondence can contain an incredible amount of information. Companies produce their own newsletters, policy-meeting minutes, and so on, filled with project data, details about people, company-status updates, and other information, but Schofield says, “It’s important to realize that although information on a computer can be extremely important, the same piece of information written on a napkin is just as valuable”.
Most corporations and company owners don’t believe their company will be targeted. If a company is not in the defence industry or the company is relatively small, the thinking goes, they aren’t at risk. This common attitude is a spy’s best weapon. In fact, small companies tend to be targeted more than large corporations, simply because they have more competitors. But a £1000 loss to a small company can be more damaging to a small company than £100,000 is to a large corporation.
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