Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

Protecting Against Industrial Espionage

By now, you are aware that there are many ways that your organization’s valuable information assets can be compromised. What steps can you take to alleviate the danger? Note that I said alleviate the danger. There is nothing you can do to make any system, any information, or any person totally secure. Totally unbreakable security is simply unattainable. The best you can do is work to achieve a level of security that makes the effort required to get information more costly than the value of the information.

One obvious protection is to employ antispyware software. As mentioned earlier in this book, many antivirus programs also have antispyware capabilities. This software, coupled with other security measures, such as firewalls and intrusion detection software (examined in Chapter 9, “Computer Security Technology”), should drastically reduce the chance that an outside party will compromise your organization’s data. Furthermore, implementing organizational policies (also discussed in Chapter 9) that help guide employees on safely using computer and Internet resources will make your system relatively secure. If you add to your protection arsenal the strategy of encrypting all transmissions, your system will be as secure as you can reasonably make it. (Chapter 8, “Encryption,” is devoted to encryption.) However, all of these techniques—firewalls, company policies, antispyware, encryption, and so forth—will only help in cases in which the employee is not the spy. What do you do to ameliorate the danger of employees intentionally stealing or compromising information? Actually, there are several courses of action any organization can take to reduce risks due to internal espionage. Here are 12 measures you can use:

  • Always use all reasonable network security: firewalls, intrusion detection software, antispyware, patches and updates for the operating system, and proper usage policies.

  • Give the personnel of the company access to only the data that they absolutely need to perform their jobs. This concept is referred to as least privileges. The employees are given the minimum privileges necessary to perform their job tasks. Use a need-to-know approach. One does not want to stifle discussion or exchange of ideas, but sensitive data must be treated with great care.

  • If possible, set up a system for those employees with access to the most sensitive data in which there is a rotation or a separation of duties. Ensure that no one employee has access and control over all critical data at one time.

  • Limit the number of portable storage media in the organization (such as CD burners and flash drives) and control access to these media. Log every use of such media and what was stored. Some organizations have even prohibited cell phones because most phones allow the user to photograph items and send the pictures electronically.

  • Do not allow employees to take documents/media home. Bringing materials home may indicate a very dedicated employee working on her own time or a corporate spy copying important documents and information.

  • Shred documents and melt old disks/tape backups/CDs. A resourceful spy can often find a great deal of information in the garbage. If any storage media is disposed of, it should be completely wiped. Degaussing is a good technique for hard drives and USB drives.

  • Do employee background checks. You must be able to trust your employees, and you can only do this with a thorough background check. Do not rely on “gut feelings.” Give particular attention to information technology (IT) personnel who will, by the nature of their jobs, have access to a wide variety of data. This scrutiny is most important with positions such as database administrators, network administrators, and network security specialists.

  • When any employee leaves the company, scan the employee’s PC carefully. Look for signs that inappropriate data was kept on that machine. If you have any reason to suspect inappropriate usage, then store the machine for evidence in subsequent legal proceedings.

  • Keep all tape backups, sensitive documents, and other media under lock and key and allow limited access to them.

  • If portable computers are used, then encrypt the hard drives. Encryption prevents a thief from extracting usable data from a stolen laptop. A number of products on the market can accomplish this encryption, including the following:

    • VeraCrypt (see Figure 7.5) is one example of a free tool for encrypting drives, folders, or partitions. The tool is remarkably easy to use and can be found at https://www.veracrypt.fr.

      There are several other similar tools, most of which are low cost or free.

      Figure 7.5

      Figure 7.5 VeraCrypt.

    • Microsoft Windows includes two types of encryption. Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate editions included BitLocker for encrypting entire hard drives. BitLocker is also available on later versions of Windows (8, 8.1, 10, 11). And all versions of Windows since Windows 2000 have included Encrypted File System for encrypting specific files or folders (see Figure 7.6).

    • DiskCryptor is an open-source drive encryption application. It supports algorithms such as AES and Serpent (which you will learn more about in Chapter 8). DiskCryptor can encrypt external devices such as USB and DVD devices. It is available from https://diskcryptor.org.

    This list is not exhaustive; therefore, it is highly recommended that you carefully review a variety of encryption products before making a selection.

  • Have all employees with access to any sensitive information sign nondisclosure agreements. Such agreements give an employer recourse in the event that an ex-employee divulges sensitive data. It is amazing how many employers do not bother with this rather simple protection. Use of nondisclosure agreements is the primary means of protecting trade secrets.

  • Conduct security awareness sessions. Clearly, employee education is one of the most important things you can do. An organization should have some method for routinely advising employees about security issues. An excellent way to do that is to have an intranet site with bulletins posted to it. It is also a good idea to hold periodic training sessions for employees. These need not be lengthy or in depth. Most nontechnical employees only need an introduction to security concepts.

Figure 7.6

Figure 7.6 Windows EFS.

Unfortunately, taking these simple measures will not make you totally immune to corporate espionage. However, using these strategies will make any such attempts much more difficult for any perpetrator; thus, you will improve your organization’s data security.

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