When people think corporate espionage, they think high-tech and industrial secrets. They don’t realize that corporate espionage includes any product, service or client list that a company has to make money. Everything from chocolate recipes to online marketing techniques can be the subject of business espionage. Here’s a case from the International Investigator files as an example:
While attending design school in England, Beth befriended another student, Miguel. They made an elaborate plan to open a business together once they graduated. While Miguel returned to his native Peru to wait for a visa, Beth returned to her native Florida and accepted a job with an already-established designer.
After Miguel’s visa was granted and he arrived in Miami, he backed out of the plan with Beth to work with another designer.
Disappointed, Beth launched a line of bridal wear. Focusing on one specific area would be best since she was now working solo. They were on opposite areas of the city, but occasionally, Miguel stopped by. During one of those visits, he casually mentioned that he and Drew, his new business partner, were launching a line of extravagant gowns. They hoped to catch some red carpet attention from celebrities.
Beth’s designer bridal business grew quickly. In fact, Beth had to hire a second person to answer the constantly ringing phones. A few months later, she attended a runway show, featuring her old friend and his new partner. Beth was shocked to see that Miguel and Drew’s designs were nearly identical to her own. In many cases, the only difference was the color of the garment.
Though Beth secretly feared she might be losing her mind, her instinct spoke loudly. Somehow, Miguel and Drew were gaining access to her designs. And that meant that a snitch was planted somewhere within Beth’s company. But who would do such a thing? Knowing that her career was at stake, Beth secured assistance from .
The first step they took was a TSCM sweep. TSCM stands for Technical Surveillance Countermeasures and the purpose is to electronically discover any spy equipment like listening devices, phone taps or surveillance equipment.
With cutting edge counter surveillance equipment, investigators discovered phone taps on her office line. Beth had covert cameras installed in the work room, investigators secured evidence of Beth’s new employee digging through Beth’s drawings and making copies of designs while Beth was meeting with clients.
Using digital forensics, investigators conducted computer forensics investigations and a mobile phone forensic analysis.
The computer forensic specialist found incriminating email exchanges between Beth’s employee and Miguel, along with lists of Beth’s most influential clients. There were even detailed photos of the designs and pattern details included.
The cell phone investigation uncovered evidence of cell phone spying. Not only was the spyware allowing Miguel and partner to hear all of Beth’s conversations, they were able to use GPS to locate clients when Beth visited them and cell phone eavesdropping to hear their conversations.
Every bit of Beth’s confidential client and design details had been compromised. Thanks to , a computer forensics expert witness provided all the evidence necessary for prosecution and Beth’s business was once again safe.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations