In today's tough corporate atmosphere where companies or firms trying to keep up with their rivals, corporate or industrial espionage cases are on the rise. This is an inherently clandestine and illegal practice that involves individual or company/corporations/government attempting to obtain secret trade information without the knowledge or permission of the information holder. It also covers sequestration of business data concerning marketing strategies, policies & plans, research & development, pricing, sales and customer databases, altering contents or compositions, etc.
Back in days, industrial espionage used to be a normal way in business execution before the enforcement of patent or copyright protection. Though it is unwelcome in today's industrial scene, digital world espionage cases based on commercial purposes are escalating on significant scale. There are always wars, happening out there among organizations/corporations, and espionage is a part of the game. Private sector spies, criminals, intelligence services, etc, are targeting their competitors or rivals, while trying to make quick fortune.
In a corporate espionage, the culprit may be a business competitor or government, obtaining classified or sensitive business techniques, ideas, formulas, processes, etc, for commercial purpose by various covert activities such as infiltration into competitor's workforce, hacking computer networks, intercepting phone-calls, blackmailing, bribery, and theft of sensitive data, etc.
While corporate espionage is illegal and punishable by law, there is a legal and ethical business practice called “competitive intelligence” in which a business competitor gather valuable information of another rival company by analyzing patent filings, websites, corporate publications for determining various business moves or activities and making corporate decision.
Corporate espionage is most prevalent in heavy and technology-based industries including aerospace, auto, biotechnology, digital technological firms, etc, where big budget is invested on research and development. They mainly target those platforms such as companies' cyber environment, cloud systems, etc, where many critical data can be extracted. In this way, the technology cultivated by a company is at jeopardy of becoming the plunder of rival firms.