Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book


A number of conclusions can be drawn from this chapter’s examination of industrial espionage. The first conclusion: It does indeed occur. The case studies clearly demonstrate that industrial espionage is not some exotic fantasy dreamed up by paranoid security experts. It is an unfortunate, but quite real, aspect of modern business. If your firm’s management chooses to ignore these dangers, then they do so at their own peril.

The second thing that can be concluded from this brief study of industrial espionage is that there are a variety of methods by which espionage can take place. An employee revealing confidential information is perhaps the most common. However, compromising information systems is another increasingly popular means of obtaining confidential and potentially valuable data. You will want to know the best way to protect your company and yourself. In the upcoming exercises, you will run screen-capture software, key loggers, and antispyware so you can learn more about espionage tactics and how to deal with them.

Test Your Skills

Multiple Choice Questions

  1. Terrance is trying to explain industrial espionage to a group of new security techs. What is the ultimate goal of espionage?

    1. To subvert a rival government

    2. To obtain information that has value

    3. To subvert a rival business

    4. To obtain information not otherwise available

  2. In order to truly understand industrial espionage, you need to understand the mindset of the spy. What is the best outcome for a spy attempting an espionage activity?

    1. To obtain information without the target even realizing he did so

    2. To obtain information with or without the target realizing he did so

    3. To obtain information and discredit the target

    4. To obtain information and cause harm to the target

  3. What is the usual motivating factor for corporate/industrial espionage?

    1. Ideological

    2. Political

    3. Economic

    4. Revenge

  4. Which of the following types of information would be a likely target for industrial espionage?

    1. A new algorithm that the company’s IT department has generated

    2. A new marketing plan that the company has formulated

    3. A list of all the company’s customers

    4. All of these answers are correct

  5. Accurate statistics on corporate espionage are difficult to obtain. One reason is that the victims don’t always report the crime, as they often don’t want the incidents to become public. Which of the following is a likely reason that an organization might be reluctant to admit it has been a victim of corporate espionage?

    1. It would embarrass the IT department.

    2. It would embarrass the CEO.

    3. It might cause stock value to decline.

    4. It might lead to involvement in a criminal prosecution.

  6. What is the difference between corporate and industrial espionage?

    1. None; they are interchangeable terms.

    2. Industrial espionage only refers to heavy industry, such as factories.

    3. Corporate espionage only refers to executive activities.

    4. Corporate espionage only refers to publicly traded companies.

  7. Information is a valuable asset. It can be useful to calculate that value in order to determine how much effort should be put into protecting it. What formula can you use to calculate the value of information?

    1. Resources needed to produce the information plus resources gained from the information

    2. Resources needed to produce the information multiplied by resources gained from the information

    3. Time taken to derive the information plus money needed to derive the information

    4. Time taken to derive the information multiplied by money needed to derive the information

  8. If a company purchases a high-end UNIX server to use for its research and development department, what is probably the most valuable part of the system?

    1. The high-end UNIX server

    2. The information on the server

    3. The devices used to protect the server

    4. The room to store the server

  9. Information is an asset to your company if it

    1. cost any sum of money to produce.

    2. cost a significant sum of money to produce.

    3. might have economic value.

    4. might cost significant money to reproduce.

  10. What is the greatest security risk to any company?

    1. Disgruntled employees

    2. Hackers

    3. Industrial spies

    4. Faulty network security

  11. Which of the following is the best definition for spyware?

    1. Software that assists in corporate espionage

    2. Software that monitors activity on a computer

    3. Software that logs computer keystrokes

    4. Software that steals data

  12. What is the highest level of security you can expect to obtain?

    1. A level of security that makes the effort required to get information more costly than the value of the information

    2. A level of security comparable with government security agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency

    3. A level of security that has a 92.5% success rate in stopping intrusion

    4. A level of security that has a 98.5% success rate in stopping intrusion

  13. In the context of preventing industrial espionage, why might you wish to limit the number of company CD burners and control access to them in your organization?

    1. An employee could use such media to take sensitive data.

    2. An employee could use such media to copy software from the company.

    3. CDs could be a vehicle for spyware to get on your system.

    4. CDs could be a vehicle for a virus to get on your system.

  14. Why would you want to scan an employee’s computer when he leaves the organization?

    1. To check the workflow prior to his leaving

    2. To check for signs of corporate espionage

    3. To check for illegal software

    4. To check for pornography

  15. What is the reason for encrypting hard drives on laptop computers?

    1. To prevent a hacker from reading the data while you are online

    2. To ensure that data transmissions are secure

    3. To ensure that another user on that machine will not see sensitive data

    4. To prevent a thief from getting data off of a stolen laptop


EXERCISE 7.1: Learning About Industrial Espionage
  1. Using the Web, library, journals, or other resources, look up a case of industrial or corporate espionage that was not already mentioned in this chapter.

  2. Write a brief essay describing the facts in the case. The parties in the case and the criminal proceeding are of interest, but most of your discussion should focus on the technical aspects of the case. Be sure to explain how the espionage was conducted.

EXERCISE 7.2: Using Antispyware

Note that this exercise may be repeated with different antispyware products. It is a good idea for any person interested in computer security to be familiar with multiple antispyware products.

  1. Go to the website of one of the antispyware utilities. (See Chapter 5 if you need more direction.)

  2. Find instructions on the vendor’s website.

  3. Download the trial version of that software.

  4. Install the software on your machine.

  5. After installation, run the utility. What did it find? Record your results.

  6. Let the utility remove or quarantine anything it found.

EXERCISE 7.3: Learning About Key Loggers

Note that this exercise may only be completed on machines where you have explicit permission to do so (not on public computers).

  1. Using any website, find and download a key logger. The following websites might help you locate a key logger: www.kmint21.com/familykeylogger/ and www.blazingtools.com/bpk.html.

  2. Install the key logger on your PC.

  3. Examine how the key logger behaves on your machine. Do you notice anything that might indicate the presence of illicit software?

  4. Run the antispyware software you downloaded in Exercise 7.2. Does the antispyware software detect the key logger?

EXERCISE 7.4: Screen-Capture Spyware
  1. Using the Web, find and download a screen-capturing spyware application. The following website might be helpful to you in selecting an appropriate product: http://en.softonic.com/s/screen-capture-spy-software. Warning: Since you are downloading spyware, it is likely that your system’s antivirus/antispyware will give you a warning.

  2. Install and configure the application on your computer.

  3. Run the application and note what it finds.

  4. Run the antispyware from Exercise 7.2 and see whether it detects your spyware program.

EXERCISE 7.5: Learning About Hardware-Based Key Loggers

In this chapter, as well as in Chapter 5, we discussed software-based key loggers. However, there are also hardware-based key loggers.

  1. Use the Internet to learn more about hardware-based key loggers. (You may wish to search for “KEYKatcher” as a starting point.)

  2. Write an essay outlining the way in which these key loggers work and how they could be implemented for either security or industrial espionage.


PROJECT 7.1: Preventing Corporate Espionage

Using one of the websites listed in this book (you can also choose from the preferred resources in Chapter 1) or other resources, find a set of guidelines on general computer security. Write a brief essay comparing and contrasting those guidelines against the ones given in this chapter. Keep in mind that the guidelines in this chapter relate specifically to corporate espionage and not to general computer security.

PROJECT 7.2: Handling Employees

Write a brief essay describing steps regarding the handling of employees. Include all steps that you believe an organization should take to prevent corporate espionage. It is important that you support your opinions with sources and reasons.

If possible, visit a company and talk with someone in either the IT department or personnel department to learn how that company handles issues such as employee termination, rotation of duties, control of access to data, and so forth. Compare and contrast the measures you wrote about in your essay to those used by the company you visited.

PROJECT 7.3: Asset Identification in Your Organization

Using Table 7.1 or a similar asset identification table of your own design, identify the most valuable data in your organization (school or business) and what parties would most likely wish to access that data. Then write a brief guideline on how you might go about securing that data. In this project, you should tailor your security recommendations to the specific type of data you are trying to protect and against the most likely perpetrators of industrial espionage.

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020