Ever heard of companies spying on each other to gain confidential information? That is exactly what defines corporate espionage. Though there are legal ways of spying on companies most of the times they play get dirty and illegal ways are used.

Corporate espionage is the process of spying, stealing and getting unauthorized access to information, data, asset, etc and revealing them to rival corporate companies or government bodies. This information can be used to harm the company image, business, etc.

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Since there has been commerce there has been the process of espionage. The first-ever case of espionage was in the 1700s Pere deEntrocelles, a French industrial spy, gained information about the secret techniques to make high-quality porcelain. He got access to the kilns and studying various Chinese books.

There have been many such cases in the past about corporate espionage. Especially after the emergence of technology, spies could do their job with more ease if they owned proper knowledge about the technology prevailing or being used in a certain company. 

The thought of carrying out espionage seems glamorous as portrayed in movies but unfortunately that is not the case. Nonetheless, it is a person with a laptop, newspaper and maybe some coffee.

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Is corporate espionage legal?

Undoubtedly, the corporate is a competitive sector. Knowing your enemies is more important than knowing your closest friends. Moreover, this does not imply that all the spies are illegal and espionage can be done in both legal and illegal ways. 

You can get pictures of a company’s parking space to understand how many employees and customers they cater to understand their profits and losses. There are many healthy ways for corporate espionage but people usually use illegal ways of doing it.  

Ways of Corporate Espionage 

Traditional Methods 

  • Recruiting agents to investigate company strategies who are well versed and experience in the field. 
  • Begin surveillance around the company
  • Make good relations with employees of the company
  • Sending in one of the agents posing as an employee of the company and extorting information 
  • Bribing a senior employee from the company 
  • Specialized technical operations 

Additional Methods

  • Social media other than connecting people has also been a powerful tool in corporate espionage. Making fake accounts to keep track of the company’s website or social media sites. Social media is used to keep in touch with employees and customers so there is a certain level of transparency that many companies want to keep intact. However, spies use this to fulfil their espionage goals. 
  • Attending the company’s shareholder meetings, investor meetings disguised as the hotel attendant or news reporters. 
  • Using public databases, information put through all the years. Hiring information brokers or consultants to research and make confidential reports. 
  • Suing the company for some case and bribing or influencing the lawmakers to take decisions against the welfare of the company. 

Technological Methods

  • Hacking is one of the most used and trusted methods of all times. Hacking into the company’s information base and then breaching this information for personal gains. 
  • Email and SMS spoofing to gain access to information. 
  • Hijacking into employee’s phones and tapping their conversation.
  • Researching for third-part data breaches and data leaks on the dark web. 

Indeed, there might be many other ways used by the spies but these are one of the most used methods of the corporate espionage. 

Reasons for Espionage 

  • Rival companies want to surpass each other and gain most profits and popularity. Clearly, they use espionage to either hamper their business strategies or understand their business and make better plans than them.
  • One of the elite reasons of espionage is unsatisfied employees of the company. Many times companies are not able to keep their employees happy and then this can backfire to the company is a really bad way.
  • Before starting a new company, the owners might want to know about their rival companies so they might use the weapon of espionage. 

Why has Corporate Espionage increased?

In the recent years, there has been significant growth in the world of technology. Furthermore, this has also affected the working culture of many companies. Without a doubt there is a neck-to-neck competition between the companies, few companies also prefer less working force which increases the work pressure on the employees, cost-cutting for various measures, etc all this has catalyzed the already burning flames. 

How to tackle corporate espionage?

Be careful about your employees and who you hire

Disguised employees pose the most serious threat to corporate companies. Also, it is very important to keep your employees happy and satisfied so that they do not share confidential information with anyone. 

Monitor your employee browsing

Monitoring your employee history and browsing will help you know the way in advance if there is any threat or problem. 

Use passwords and double verification 

The fear of forgetting the passwords leads to people using the same password in many places. This is extremely dangerous and is vulnerable to hacking and breaching.

There are many apps and software that include double verification to get access to the information at disposal. If a person gets through the first verification then definitely there will be blockage through the next one. Meanwhile, you can be alerted if there is anything fishy happening in the company’s systems.

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This is all the information related to one of the most less known and understood terms “Corporate Espionage”. I hope this article enlightens you with all the information necessary. Make the best use of this information.

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