In public discussion and media reporting, the terms industrial and competitive espionage, as well as industrial espionage, are often not precisely delimited from one another. Industrial and competitive espionage is the illegal acquisition of know-how and goods by competing companies. The aim is to either gain an advantage for yourself by receiving the information earlier or to be able to initiate countermeasures early (enough).
Business organizations and companies
For many companies, protection against economic and industrial espionage falls under the main topic of information security and is an important part of user training. Many users are unaware of the possible dangers and consequences of such attacks. Since the technical protective measures such as encryption are also very mature, the manipulation of people using social engineering could become a method of attack by spies.
Sometimes friendly or oppositional parties were included in the process. Common industrial espionage techniques from more recent times are the unauthorized copying of data via open and unprotected USB ports to removable storage media such as USB sticks or external hard drives, photographing or filming documents, production systems, production techniques or prototypes using digital cameras , mobile phones or smartphones , interception of letters , eavesdropping on e-mails and Internet connections , the wiretapping of phones and the smuggling of an informant or informants buying up the other party. One example is Operation Shady RAT . Methods such as patents and protection against eavesdropping are no longer sufficient for such attacks. The generic term cyber war includes all actions based on extensive computerization, electronization and networking, in particular military areas and concerns.
Situation in Europe
In 2001, MEP Gerhard Schmid , as rapporteur for the Echelon Committee, said that the US could not only use its technical capabilities to fight corruption , but also to give the US a competitive edge. Echelon “serves industrial espionage not only in the sense that general economic data is queried; rather, the system would also be used to win large orders. ”In fact, the Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 about an aircraft business in which the NSA discovered that the European Airbus wanted to bribe the Saudi client. In the debate in the European Parliament, Schmid argued that American industrial espionage against European corruption was not justified. American companies would also bribe and the US would be in the middle of the corruption scale . British journalist Duncan Campbell authored a report published in February 2000 for the European Parliament in which he cited a second case in which information from the NSA allegedly helped a US company to win a contract.
In June 2013, the whistleblower Edward Snowden made two large Internet-based eavesdropping systems known to the public, namely the US PRISM system and the British Tempora system , which went into operation at the beginning of 2012 and is used on behalf of the USA. Constanze Kurz believes that PRISM serves industrial espionage.
Situation in Germany
Germany itself does not operate a secret service that spies abroad for the German economy. Industrial espionage is pursued at the federal level by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution . At the state level, responsibility falls to the respective responsible state office if it operates a counter-espionage department. However, there is no real nationwide defense in Germany at the authority level, so that foreign corporations can spy on companies in Germany with the help of their secret services. Only the Federal Office for Information Security looks after an anti- espionage team with Department 2 - Cryptology and eavesdropping security . This offers its services to federal and state authorities as well as companies that are subject to confidentiality supervision by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). The industry has founded an interest group, the Alliance for Security in Business (ASW), which is also supported by government agencies.
According to a study by a management consultancy for security services, 21 percent of German companies were harmed in 2012 by at least one specific case of espionage. The middle class is particularly affected. It recorded the most incidents with 24 percent, corporations are affected by 19 percent. The German economy suffers damage of around 4.2 billion euros every year. The attacks mainly took place in the CIS countries (27 percent), Europe (26.6 percent), Germany (26.1 percent) and North America (25.2 percent). Only 10.4 percent of the incidents took place in Asia. The origin was unclear for 6.3 percent of the companies. The most common damage is caused by in-house employees, external business partners and hacker attacks. Employees were involved in 70.5 percent of all incidents, with social engineering cases accounting for 22.7 percent.
As part of the espionage affair , it became known in June 2013 that the NSA within Germany, which is responsible for industrial espionage in the USA, is being supported by the federal government. In addition to institutions of the NSA and the BND, numerous US companies in Germany deal with data analysis and forwarding to the USA. The basis was a secret agreement between the BND and the NSA, which was signed on April 28, 2002 by the head of the Chancellery at the time, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD).
US Ambassador Emerson assured in November 2013: "America does not engage in industrial espionage". The US government differentiates between commercial industrial espionage and political industrial espionage (for the detection of corruption, smuggling of war weapons). This attitude was already reflected in an article published in March 2000 by former CIA chief James Woolsey . In it he publicly and in detail explained reasons why the United States spied on its allies also with regard to economic goals, and wrote: “ That's right, my continental friends, we have spied on you because you bribe. ”(German:“ It is correct, my friends from the continent, we spied on you because you bribe. ”) According to media reports, the German wind power company Enercon was the victim of industrial espionage by the NSA in 1994. Accordingly, an NSA secret service employee admitted that he spied on the German company and passed on his findings to the US company Kenetech. The actual background was that Enercon wanted to export wind turbines to the USA, but would have infringed an existing Kenetech patent, and the United States International Trade Commission therefore initially imposed an import ban.
In January 2014 it became known that the German company Ferrostaal was inferior to a competing company from the USA in a contract tendered in Nigeria in 2003 after the US secret service NSA had spied out the details of the Ferrostaal offer. In the same month, the US whistleblower Edward Snowden explained to Norddeutscher Rundfunk that the United States is engaged in industrial espionage through its secret services: “If, for example, Siemens has information that is in the national interest of the United States - but nothing to do with national security do - then take this information anyway, ”says Snowden.
However, Snowden did not even give a hint of what would happen to such information afterwards, according to Ansgar Graw : "After all, an agent couldn't just hand it over to a US company." The fact that employees frequently switch between competing companies in an industry makes a state-sponsored information advantage pointless or even risky, according to James Bamford .
Andrew B. Denison : “The question is not whether American intelligence agencies are spying on European companies - I hope they are. The question is what happens to this information and why it is collected. "
Role of France
According to the NYT, then Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair was negotiating a non-espionage agreement with France. The French therefore operated industrial espionage within the United States in order to steal American technology secrets. According to a cable report published by the US Embassy in Berlin as part of Cablegate , the then head of OHB-System is said to have described France as the realm of evil with a view to its technology theft : “French IPR espionage is so bad that the total damage done to the German Economy is greater the [sic] that inflicted by China or Russia. ”Berry Smutny denies the statements ascribed to him.
The Economist wrote in 2013: “America publicly ranks France along with Israel and Russia as a cyber-espionage menace. Only China is worse. ”In a hearing before the US Congress in 1996, then FBI director Louis Freeh stated that the FBI was investigating 23 states for industrial espionage against the US; although he did not specifically name countries, there were references to Russia, Israel and France. The examples given in the 2001 EU report include the case of a train sale to South Korea, in which TGV prevailed over Siemens. A Wikileaks publication shows that German entrepreneurs see France as a threat because of its industrial espionage.
Situation in Italy
On October 25, 2013, the Italian magazine L'Espresso published new documents from the fund of ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden . According to this, Italy is part of the secret transatlantic eavesdropping partnership between the USA and Great Britain within the scope of the British secret service GCHQ ( Government Communications Headquarters ). The GCHQ collected and stored data with tenses . At the same time it became known that the NSA had wiretapped leading politicians from friendly states (e.g. Angela Merkel and François Hollande ).
Situation in China
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