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.

 

California Invokes Strict Social Media Privacy Law

Thu, November 8th, 2012 - 12:04 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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Social media background checks as part of an employment screening process has long been a controversial subject.  There are questions about the distinction between the eccentric personality and the prospective employee who might not be a good fit for the employer.  One employee’s wild night on the town in a certain city may not bear the consequences as another employee in a different, more conservative part of the country.

But I have also seen with social media background screening distinctive negatives.  This is where employees cast serious aspersions on their  employers and on their managers.  I have seen, frankly, some really stupid stuff.  I have also read social media background checks where the subject expresses some serious violent behavior.  Given all the workplace violence, it may be prudent to have pause before hiring an applicant who writes in social media that he hates women or a certain race or lifestyle.   With this, we are not talking about someone’s biases, but some truly ugly stuff.

All that being said, California has passed a strict social media privacy law.  It is a good law.  It is now illegal in California for an employer ask for passwords and access to an employee’s social media accounts.  Not passwords for Facebook or Twitter, or anything else.

I have written about social media background checks before.  One informative article is entitled, “Some Things for Employers to Follow When Conducting Social Media Searches.”

According to the article in security info watch….”The two laws — SB 1349 from Yee and AB 1844 from Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose — overwhelmingly passed the Legislature in late August and had broad support from employee unions, technology companies and consumer groups.

But some securities firms that are charged with overseeing business communications opposed the bills, saying it would restrict them from monitoring whether an employee is using a personal account to communicate about the company.

“The securities industry has absolutely no interest in accessing employee accounts that are used exclusively for personal use,” said Andrew DeSouza, spokesman for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. “We believe that a personal social media account that is used for business purposes must be treated as a business account.”

Realize that the law does not prevent employers or universities from looking over any social media pages that are made public.  The better social media software does that and limits background checks to public information only.

 

Most Government Workplace Violence Committed by Government Employees

Tue, November 6th, 2012 - 11:18 am - By Gordon Basichis

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I guess it is not overly surprising that most workplace violence that is committed in agencies owned and run by the federal government are committed by government employees.  More than half the workplace violence is committed by current and former employees.

According to the article in Federal News Radio…””Workplace violence can result in a number of direct costs to organizations and can affect employee productivity and morale, which violates the merit system principle of the efficient and effective use of the federal workforce,” said MSPB Chairman Susan Tsui Grundmann. “A second merit system principle, that federal employees maintain high standards of integrity and conduct, is violated when federal employees exhibit violent behavior in the workplace.”

The article provides tips on how to best prevent workplace violence.  One suggestion is that agencies should revise their screening policies for anyone who needs access to federal facilities.

According to the article one area of focus in modified  a screening process should  includes…””These populations include contractors and vendors who routinely enter the workplace but who cannot always be physically escorted or easily segregated from employees,” the report said.

The one recommendation we well understand in the article is the call for completing the appropriate pre-employment background checks.   Background checks go a long way in weeding out the possible interlopers and violent offenders.  And at the very least, the employer has performed due diligence to the best of its ability.

Workplace Weekly Link to Corra Group’s PR Release About Offering Background Checks for the Holiday Season

Thu, November 1st, 2012 - 6:20 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Workplace Weekly has run our recent PR Release on how “Corra Group Prepares for Third Quarter Holiday Season Employment Screening.

Corra Group is preparing for the traditional third quarter hiring push for the holiday season. As businesses prepare for the expected surge in retail, dining, and in the hospitality industry, Corra Group will be ramping up to service its clients for background checks and employment screening.

“We expect hiring will be up this holiday season,” said Nick Gustavson, Co-Founder of Corra Group. “Analysts are predicting a four percent increase in retail sales, which should also translate into more people dining out and taking vacations. This means retail venues will be employing more people than they have for the past number of years as well as restaurants and destination sites.

Here is the link to find the full content of the release on the Workplace Weekly Website.

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