Digital Conflict: U.S. must work harder to thwart corporate espionage

Corporate espionage has reached an unprecedented level as countries and private organizations around the world vie with each other for technological dominance.

Corporate espionage has reached an unprecedented level and will continue this upward growth for the foreseeable future. The global technology race is the primary driver behind the dramatic growth. Countries and private organizations around the world are in fierce competition, and many believe they cannot compete effectively against countries such as the United States, Japan, South Korea and Israel. Criminal organizations, rogue nations, and greedy companies are drawn to intellectual property theft because there’s a very high profit margin and fairly light penalties. These two facts are why they resort to espionage.

Recent reports disclosed that the U.S. and China have increased spying on each other. Most modern-day spying is done electronically using thumb drives or via the Internet and computers rather than using traditional concealed listening devices and insiders. A series of secret diplomatic cables (recently published by WikLeaks), coupled with multiple interviews with subject matter experts, combine to indicate that China has surpassed the U.S. when it comes to cyber espionage. This has put U.S. security and the future economy at risk. “China does not shy away from the industrial espionage,” one expert warned.

This means years of research down the drain and billions in funding wasted. The U.S.' national security and economic well being are at risk. Think about the implication to shareholders. Many believe we only know about a small portion of the breaches that happen; most are not publicly disclosed. What will it take before the U.S. wakes up and gets serious about protecting the nation’s information assets?