What Does Industrial Espionage Mean? Basics to Best Practices

What Does Industrial Espionage Mean?

We continue introducing important cybersecurity-related topics to our readers. Our next issue is “What does industrial espionage mean?”. Learn the answer to this question and find out more about the services MBS Tech offers to prevent and fight all threats connected with this area.

What Does Industrial Espionage Mean?

Whereas espionage in its general understanding concerns the activities of gathering information potentially corrupting national security, the focus of industrial espionage is business. And the sides are often competing companies. So, what does industrial espionage mean?

The term industrial espionage refers to covert, unethical, and, in many cases, illegal spying practice concentrated on gaining secret or confidential information, such as trade secrets, etc., with further commercial or financial gain possibilities. In all cases of industrial espionage, competitors take advantage of their discoveries to maintain or enhance their own positions on the market.   

Common alternative names for this spying practice include corporate spying, economic espionage or corporate espionage. Cases of industrial espionage are incredibly widespread, and they don’t necessarily imply illegal activities. They can also be long unseen or never detected.

Cases of Industrial Espionage

We’re now very far from the times when corporate spying practices included the search of physical archives, paper folders and even wastebaskets. Computer network access is the most common and effective way to acquire necessary information. ‘What does industrial espionage mean?’ is just one question we want to answer for our readers to fully understand the topic. Now we move on to what and how this kind of cybercrime happens. 

Target Industries

No one is immune to cyber threats, including industrial espionage. However, there are spheres that are especially prone to this kind of cybercrime. Hi-tech industries prevail as targets of corporate espionage. To be more precise, here is the list of the most targeted areas:

  • computer (software and hardware);
  • aerospace;
  • bioengineering technique;
  • telecommunications;
  • transportation-related companies;
  • machinery.

How Spying Practice Operates

Industrial espionage can result in the theft, removal or substitution of data. Other possible activities include surveillance, blackmail, and bribery. The most common way to perform the necessary action is by using an insider. Other techniques utilized to spy on companies include:

It may seem scary even to look at the list above. However, the most trivial insider threats are really most frequent as well as effective. Insiders may be present or former employees who function as spies either intentionally or inadvertently. 

Competitive Intelligence VS Corporate Espionage

All businesses are aware of their competitors’ general information. It’s a part of healthy competitive (or corporate) intelligence. You gather and analyze data about other businesses of your niche (as well as target audience, visitors, other market factors, etc.) from open, legal channels on your own or with expert help, e.g. by utilizing OSINT capabilities. But where is that border that separates competitive intelligence from corporate espionage? The main difference is in ethics and the techniques mentioned above. Corporate intelligence can’t be about crossing the line.

MBS Techservices against Industrial Espionage

At MBS Tech, we gather qualified, highly trained cyber security consultants who routinely deal with industrial espionage and insider threats. We implement the most up-to-date tools and innovative technologies to detect even the slightest signs of cyber insider threats, unseen to non-professional eyes. We utilize IBM's most effective solutions (Guardium, MaaS360, etc.) and recommend our customers the best practices to maximize their cyber safety. Our most popular services fighting industrial espionage and preventing insider threats include:

  • Industrial Espionage and Insider Threat Personnel Training
  • Industrial Espionage and Insider Threat Audit.

For more information, reach out to our experienced professionals or simply request our brochures and other materials dedicated to the service - with detailed descriptions, tips and tactics, and our surveys.



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