Browse Definitions:
Definition

industrial espionage

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Industrial espionage is the covert and sometimes illegal practice of investigating competitors to gain a business advantage. The target of 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 any data that 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 with 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, a spy might search waste baskets 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 (APT) 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 are also secreted in a variety of items including eyeglasses, pens and USB sticks. 

Industrial espionage is distinct from competitive intelligence (CI), which is confined to the gathering of publicly available information. 

This was last updated in October 2012

Continue Reading About industrial espionage

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

SearchHealthIT

  • population health management (PHM)

    Population health management (PHM) is a discipline within the healthcare industry that studies and facilitates care delivery ...

  • ICD-10-PCS

    The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS) is a U.S. cataloging system for...

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

    The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the largest biomedical library in the world.

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • hybrid hard drive (HHD)

    A hybrid hard drive (HHD), sometimes known as a solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD), is a mass storage device that combines a ...

  • USB flash drive

    A USB flash drive -- also known as a stick, thumb or pen drive -- is a plug-and-play portable storage device that uses flash ...

  • open source storage

    Open source storage is data storage software developed in a public, collaborative manner that permits the free use, distribution ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close