Automakers Vulnerable to Increased Industrial Espionage Efforts

Mon, November 12th, 2012 - 2:23 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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Industrial espionage is a serious business.  And it is a business.   Foreign National Agencies, commercial groups and any number of individuals are being paid  big money to steal the kind of proprietary information that would otherwise could not be obtained.   When i say big money, it is not really big money when compared to the efforts and expenses  a company would have to put forth in research and development.  And the results would never be a guaranteed success.   So the effort to steal rather than develop, despite nefarious and illegal aspects, has its obvious rewards.

Companies have come to Corra Group in the past years where their secret information and trade secrets were seriously compromised.  It has caused them grievous harm when someone they hired as an employee stole guarded proprietary information and sold it off to domestic and foreign corporations.   In one case the victimized company was the leader in a certain industrial product.   Now it faces competition from interlopers using its own formulas.

The automotive industry is no strange to industrial espionage.  There have been stories over the recent years of employees being caught stealing proprietary information on the new battery and solar technologies.  Those automotive makers developing electronic cars are prime targets for corporate espionage.   While background checks, may help filter suspicious employee candidates who appear to have worked for related industries or competitors, employers must realize there is always a first time for a worker to take a bribe.  And this does not account for security breaches and cyber invasions.

According to an article in i Motor Times, here are but a few listed incidents of industrial espionage in the automotive industry, “In particular, auto giants including GM, Ford and Toyota have endured stolen intellectual property more than most.

Last month, an IT contractor for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. was accused of hacking into the company’s database, taking a old of extremely sensitive trade secrets.

What’s more, GM and Ford were victims of theft from their own employees as well when internal information found its way to foreign competitiors.

Expressing the severity of the rising threat and the challenging conditions, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole said during a Michigan keynote, “A well-placed rogue employee can capture a company’s highly proteted crown jewels, things on which profits and jobs depend on.”

Highlighting a rather high-profile incident of espionage, Assistant U.S. attorney Cathleen Corken brought attention to a case regarding a Ford employee that has stolen thousands of secrets in order to secure a job with another competitor.”

Prevention of industrial espionage requires diligence and perception.   Often, your suspicious about someone’s motives may be all too true.  The thing is to get on it early.   Higher experts in the field to set up necessary security precautions.  And be sure to run extensive background checks on everyone you hire.


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