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  • Foluwa T. Rewane

Highlighting Counter-Espionage in The Technology Sector.


The security landscape for the corporate sector today includes a veritable plethora of challenges (not the least of which is counter-espionage). These problems, if not tackled in a timely manner can turn out to be the causative factors for potentially devastating outcomes for various organizations both large and small. This may be partly due to the overwhelming consequences of the theft of highly classified and proprietary information.


o The importance of counter-espionage for companies today


While countering such machinations, it is prudent to point out that it is not just military and industrial espionage at the governmental level that is the only source of concern here. On the contrary, the less commonly thought of, albeit far more insidious and thereby more dangerous threat would be that of business and corporate espionage.


As a matter of fact, not only are business competitors fully capable of routinely engaging in such highly illegal and nefarious activities, but they are also sometimes fully aided and accompanied by various state-sponsored campaigns that are focused on the concept of economic intelligence. As a matter, in fact, various organizations all over the world, that are working at the cutting edge of technology are routinely subjected to espionage activities by both hostile state actors as well as independent hackers who are looking to break into and steal their vital secrets, to sell the same in the open market.


This is precisely why various counter-espionage measures have to be aggressively taken so as to ensure that the organization and its critically important secrets are kept safe from this otherwise highly ruinous form of attack.


o The key elements of a highly successful counter-espionage programme


This is where an absolute world class counter-espionage or (CE as it is more popularly known) program comes into the picture. Not only must it address any problems and issues related to standard physical security but also all the constantly evolving cyber threats in question.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg since the most harmful threats are typically low-tech ones and occur primarily because of the help of human-enabled espionage techniques.


o The dangers of human espionage-related activities


It is imperative that the overall security strategy also take into account and simultaneously apply very robust counter-espionage techniques and methodologies. These have to be conducted keeping in mind the global environment where highly competitive intelligence organizations often seamlessly merge with highly sophisticated international criminal syndicates. Such organizations also use human espionage to steal their competitors’ secrets and thereby appropriate them for their own.


Such low-tech activities are a form of industrial espionage that is generally directed at various high value and low-risk targets. In other words, rich data can be collected without an overly high risk of exposure to the agent or operative conducting the espionage activities.

Such human espionage typically depends upon the exploitation of both vulnerable employees as well as vulnerable streams of highly classified and proprietary work. Only a highly sophisticated counter espionage methodology that has been placed by a security conscious IT department can stop the potentially catastrophic losses to the organization.


This holds even truer when lone wolf attackers share their expertise with powerful government organization as well as rival competing companies so as to create an almost ‘foolproof’ network. Unfortunately, many such counterespionage programs are neither focused on nor for that matter, are they even able to adequately address the various real word human weaknesses of their own staff members and workforce. Ultimately, this failure can easily cost the company a lot in terms of a substantial loss of revenue. And here it should be pointed out that revenue streams are not the only ones that may be affected.


Rather, the loss of research and development, as well as the many man-hours required to create any particular product, may be completely lost as well.  Lastly, the overall loss of investor confidence can affect the company to such as extent that it may not be able to recover entirely from this body blow.


o The role of corporate counter espionage


Corporate counter-espionage is an overarching security concept that is used to build multiple obstacles to the systems’ data. It also sensitizes the workforce and aims to train its many employees and staff members to refrain from taking any liberties with the proprietary information of the company or organization that they work for. Such a system will put in place multiple layers between the system’s critical information and anyone who wants to gain unauthorised access to the same. A cyber security company that specializes in such counter-espionage measures can easily train the workforce to beware of hostile elements. Always remember “Forewarned is forearmed”.

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