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Futurum Consultancy & Training


Counter Corporate Espionage Training for Business Travellers

Corporate espionage is on the increase and counter measures need to be taken by businesses more now than during the Cold War. Any international organisation has the potential to be exposed to the risk of industrial espionage, and personnel need to be adequately prepared when traveling to high-risk regions where it may be encountered.

Industrial espionage includes theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, tender and contract negotiation material, theft of financial information, targeted corruption, and attempts to lure personnel into compromising situations for blackmail purposes.

A high profile example is the theft of research and manufacturing data relating to drugs under development by a well-known drugs manufacturer. Recently Apple Inc. discovered an employee trying to steal thousands of files including schematics, diagrams and technical manuals.

In some countries industrial espionage is state-sponsored, allowing intelligence services to target foreign businesses and personnel from the moment a visa application is submitted. Phone calls may be intercepted, hotel rooms eavesdropped or covertly searched, sensitive commercial or personal documents copied, and computers and mobile devices tampered with.

Hostile intelligence services also deploy personnel trained in elicitation techniques to subtly engage with people of interest to them in places such as hotels, restaurants or business functions.

We believe if your personnel travel abroad on behalf of your organisation it’s right to anticipate this issue and be prepared. Theft or misappropriation of trade secrets can go undetected, and the commercial costs to an organisation associated with incidence of industrial espionage can be significant and long term. Some estimates put the annual cost of corporate espionage at over a US$1 trillion.

We provide two tiers of training:

  • our “lunch and learn” workshop provides an introduction to corporate espionages
  • our one-day workshop builds on this and provides a more detailed analysis of the key threats, and the steps that can be taken to mitigate those threats.

Corporate espionage – an introductory workshop

This short “lunch and learn” workshop provides an introduction to corporate espionage and the key methodologies used by competitors and hostile states to steal trade secrets. The workshop will last between 60 to 90 minutes.

Corporate espionage – A one-day interactive workshop

Using an experienced team drawn from the UK government and security agencies, military, police and the National Crime Agency we have developed a one-day workshop aimed at raising awareness of personnel to the risks of corporate espionage. The workshop is suitable for any personnel who travel abroad, particularly to hostile countries.

High Level Learning Objectives

The aim of this workshop is to:

  • Raise security awareness
  • Provide an understanding of the threats of industrial espionage
  • Provide an understanding of the methodologies that may be deployed by foreign intelligence services and hostile competitors
  • Provide an understanding of the measures that can be taken to reduce risk

Corporate Espionage Training - Workshop Summary

This one-day workshop provides delegates with a sound understanding of the potential risks faced when travelling abroad and provides a practical framework for safer travel. The workshop comprises facilitated discussion and practical exercises and includes the following topics:

  • Industrial espionage and the methodologies used – Understanding the methodologies used by foreign intelligence services and hostile competitors including undertaking surveillance and technical surveillance, covert elicitation and social engineering
  • Travelling under the radar – The principle of becoming the “grey person” to lower the likelihood of drawing attention of the authorities.
  • Counter and anti-surveillance – The methods that can be used to detect and to evade hostile surveillance.
  • Social media profiling – The use of the Internet and social media is a part of everyday life. The digital footprint left behind and the personal data made available online is often used by criminals or organisations with hostile intent to profile personnel looking for weaknesses they can exploit.
  • Undertaking threat assessments – Threat assessments are a key part of the process of identifying the potential risks that will vary country by country.
  • Counter espionage measures – Once the threats have been identified mitigating steps can be taken to minimise the risk of corporate espionage, and some simple, easy to follow measures can make a big difference.
  • Pre-deployment briefings – Ensuring personnel are fully briefed regarding the destination, its threats and contingency plans prior to deployment.

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