Intellectual property (IP) theft is on the rise. It is of particular interest to us in that it is a challenging area of research and investigation, with which we have formidable experience but also because of the sheer laxity with which people, unintentionally, treat their personal concepts and/or corporate secrets. One of the most infamous IP hijack attempts is the one by a Pepsi employee several years ago, of rival, Coca Cola’s age old secret formula. (This situation was more of a former Coke employee, turncoat cum extortionist, caught in the act.)
No longer is it the ragged thief on the sidewalk selling bootleg DVDs (although, despite recording and film industry-instigated aggressive prosecution, continues at a multi-billion dollars a year loss). Cyber thievery is the crime du jour. The mastermind cyber criminal needs only to bring in a skilled hacker (he/she may not even be old enough to vote – although we encourage everyone to get out tomorrow, Election Day ’08!) and if there is a focus on your product or concept, and you’ve maintained it on your corporate or personal PC, it can be retrieved from the outside. For that matter, it’s not just traditional IP materials that are vulnerable to cyber theft, so are your client lists, address book, confidential case file data, etc. As you can see in the CBS News clip below, there are actually hacking kits on the market.
Cyber Crime/Intellectual Property Protection Tips:
1. Have all employees, affiliated vendors.. sign confidentiality agreements. Specify the agreement to your firm’s concerns.
2. Conduct specific prior IP theft prosecution background checks for any employee or potential subcontractor, vendor… who may potentially gain access to proprietary company information.
3. Change passwords. Frequently. This can be a hassle but there are off the shelf programs (roboform comes to mind immediately) that can automatically enable and track these changes for you.
For more info, there is an up-to-date, comprehensive cyber crime area on the USDOJ site.
BNI Operatives: Street smart; Web savvy.
Stay safe and VOTE!,