Espionage 101 – What Is Espionage?

Spies use subterfuge to acquire information that would benefit a nation’s enemies. Such information may include code and signal books, photographs, blueprints or other documents.

General George Washington understood the importance of intelligence gathering during the American Revolutionary War, 심부름센터 employing spies and using codes and ciphers. Modern spies often use the Internet to gather data.

Industrial Espionage

Industrial espionage, or corporate spying, involves the theft of information valuable to a competitor. This can be information like manufacturing secrets, chemical formulas, or innovative ideas. The information stolen can make or break a company’s financial health, and it can have serious criminal implications for perpetrators.

Companies can be a victim of industrial espionage from competitors, foreign governments, or even disgruntled employees. It’s possible for an employee to breach the security of their employer simply by taking a USB stick with them when they leave. This type of behavior is easier to accomplish due to the ease of working from home and lax cybersecurity practices in many companies.

The risk is particularly high for technology-focused businesses that invest in research and development. It is a common practice for competitors in this sector to snoop on each other, and in the past, some even broke into offices or private residences to steal trade secrets.

The most important way a company can prevent this is by limiting access to confidential information when an employee leaves, as well as immediately performing an audit of the outgoing employee’s computer (with their permission) to see if they have downloaded or copied sensitive information. Companies should also require outgoing employees to declare that they do not have any of the company’s information in their possession.

Corporate Espionage

Corporate espionage refers to business competitors stealing intellectual property, trade secrets and proprietary information. The goal is to give the competitor a competitive advantage in their industry. Examples include using a lack of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or other poor security practices to listen in on competitor communications, changing the registration of a competitor’s domain name or planting malware or cloning devices to steal sensitive information. Creating knock-off products, substituting materials or stealing research and development can also qualify as industrial espionage. For example, a chemist working for Coca-Cola could be charged with this offense if she was discovered to be taking photos of secret documents with her cell phone.

Often, these incidents go unreported. However, there are several high-profile cases. One example comes from security vendor Securonix. Xu, a Chinese intelligence officer, was convicted of industrial espionage when he was caught trying to steal information from GE Aviation’s unique aircraft fan technology. He invited an employee of a company that collaborated with GE Aviation to deliver a presentation at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Xu then used malware or a cloned flash drive to steal the information.

Despite the fact that many companies gather intelligence on their rivals just as nation-states do, it’s difficult to distinguish between competitive intelligence and industrial espionage. In some instances, gathering intelligence can cross over the line into criminality.

Government Espionage

When a government agency conducts espionage, it aims to collect information that has military or political value. The information might also have economic value or simply be useful to a foreign government. Government espionage is generally carried out by spies and informants (persons who act as a conduit for information).

In the years leading up to World War II, espionage was a major undertaking by many nations. The Cold War — the period of hostile relations between the United States and Soviet Union — led to increased espionage by both countries, with agents positioned at embassies and consulates around the globe to collect intelligence.

Government espionage is still important, but it’s less of a priority than it used to be. The information that a nation seeks to gather is often classified and can not be shared in the open. Its sensitivity makes it attractive to spies who wish to cause harm.

Government spies may also face criminal charges, including treason, if they reveal classified information outside the official channels. It’s important for anyone accused of a federal crime to have the help of a qualified attorney. The experienced lawyer can review the case and determine the best way to proceed. If a person is charged with espionage, he or she may face lengthy prison sentences. A skilled lawyer can assist in lowering or eliminating these penalties.

Military Espionage

During times of war, it is important for governments to gather information on their enemy and allies. Some of this information is gathered through open source, while other data can only be obtained through clandestine means. This information can be used to develop military strategies, improve weapons, sabotage the enemy, and more. Military espionage is one of the oldest activities in intelligence gathering.

Spies are recruited for a variety of reasons, including money, ideology, or coercion. Some spy for two countries at the same time, a practice known as double agents or double crosses. The term “agent” is also used in the military to refer to a person who volunteers to pass on intelligence information to a higher authority, often at great risk to his or her own life.

To be convicted of espionage, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you obtained information that was classified or confidential. Classified or confidential information includes: nuclear weaponry, strategic military locations, military spacecraft and satellites, early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large scale attack. A person who is convicted of military espionage can be sentenced to prison for a lifetime and be ordered to pay fines, damages and legal fees. For this reason, the Uniform Code of Military Justice includes a special set of laws for this type of offense.