Economic and industrial espionage at the start of the 21st century – Status quaestionis

Klaus Solberg Søilen


This article is a literature review where the aim is to define a status quaestionis
for the field of economic and industrial espionage. History shows how those who engage in these
activities often are the scientifically and industrially weaker party, the party that is learning or
trying to catch up. On a global scale economic and industrial espionage can be seen as a form of
involuntarily sharing that has a series of positive results for economic development. On the
scale of the individual businesses attacked, and for tax authorities in those countries, it is a
troublesome phenomenon that must be regulated and punished. Governments must prepare
society for systematic and frequent cyberattacks. Private companies are wise to move to stricter
security controls, which must include encryption. A number of specific research projects are
suggested throughout the article. In the literature we have identified the following agent
motives: the employee who needs money, has split loyalties, leaves angry, the occasional thieve
and the professional spy.


Economic espionage, hacking, industrial espionage, literature review, signal intelligence

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