What Is Espionage?

In the intelligence world, a double agent is someone who transfers loyalties from one side to the other. The US Espionage Act was enacted in 1917, just two months after the country entered World War I.


Industrial espionage costs the United States $100 billion each year in lost market share, according to the DOJ. The practice of stealing trade secrets, formulas and technology is known as espionage.

What Is Espionage?

Almost all nations have strict laws on espionage. It’s illegal in most countries to disclose classified information or steal private data, such as a company’s trade secrets.

Spies are trained to penetrate an enemy’s defenses in various ways. Some use disguises to sneak into enemy territory for intelligence gathering, while others are com 서울흥신소 missioned to sabotage an enemy’s infrastructure and economy.

Most spies are charged with offenses under the Espionage Act, which was first passed in 1917, just two months after America entered World War I. The law was aimed at cracking down on any wartime activities that could jeopardize national security, and criminalized obtaining defense-related information with the intent to harm the country; transmitting secret information to enemies; and making false statements against the government, flag or military, according to the History Channel.

The act also includes the Sedition Act of 1918, which was enacted to combat the spread of disloyal speech and ideas that could affect the nation’s war effort. In fact, it made it a crime to make a public statement that interfered with military operations or criticized the government, flag, Constitution or military. This was the same law that prosecutors used to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg for publishing The Pentagon Papers, although major portions of the act were repealed in 1921.

Why Is Espio 서울흥신소 nage Important?

Since the days of ancient Rome and Greece, those in power have sought advantage over their enemies with a variety of secret activities. This is especially true in wartime when military, diplomatic and intelligence operations are often interwoven.

In peacetime, spies can be found working for both foreign and domestic governments. The race for economic domination and technological advancement has made the private sector a prime target of espionage. This type of espionage is called industrial espionage and involves the theft of nonpublic information. It can be used to steal intellectual property, trade secrets and critical technologies that help drive the U.S. economy. This information can be sold to foreign entities for a fraction of the cost of developing it, which can harm America’s competitive edge and lead to long-term economic losses.

Spies also are used to gather information about the enemy’s capabilities. This can be particularly useful in wartime as a way to plan and execute sabotage and other attacks against the enemy’s infrastructure or troops.

Throughout history, the art of spying has inspired countless works of literature and film, from Rudyard Kipling’s Kim to James Fenimore Cooper’s The Spy. Spies are also a favorite subject for criminals and terrorists, who use various techniques to steal confidential intelligence of a political or military nature. The Espionage Act was passed in 1917 to crack down on those who knowingly or unknowingly acquired defense-related information with the intent of passing it to America’s enemies. Those who commit this offense can be punished with up to a $10,000 fine or up to 20 years in prison, depending on the circumstances and whether the offense is committed during wartime.

How Is Espionage Performed?

Often, spying is conducted by foreign governments and corporations. Specifically, industrial espionage is a form of intelligence gathering aimed at obtaining proprietary economic information that can help a country compete more effectively in the global marketplace and gain an advantage over rival nations and companies.

It’s important to note that stealing information from competitors and then divulging that data in order to gain an unfair competitive edge is considered illegal in most jurisdictions. It’s also a crime that’s difficult to detect since it often takes place under the radar, with insiders who have access to company data acting as double agents for extended periods of time.

As such, it’s important to protect your organization by establishing effective detection and response measures as well as building up your internal security capabilities through education and training. This will enable you to meet industry and compliance requirements, such as NIST 800-53, FISMA, PCI DSS and others.

Additionally, if you’re concerned about your business being subject to cyber espionage, it is highly recommended that you work with a cybersecurity partner. CrowdStrike, for example, discovered a targeted intrusion against an academic institution known to be involved in the development of COVID-19 testing capabilities by Chinese hackers, who gained initial access through an SQL injection attack and then compiled various malware into a package they used to steal the information.

Who Is a Spy?

A spy is someone hired to collect secret information for a government or organization. Spies are sworn to secrecy and must remain as unremarkable as possible—their lives (and others’) may depend on it. They typically use codes and ciphers to communicate, employ cut-outs—people who transfer messages between them and a safe house and may also use disguises.

Spies are often recruited for ideological, patriotism or money reasons, but they can be persuaded through other means such as ego and love (human beings are complicated). Their handler—the intelligence officer who recruits them and trains them—tries to cultivate trust by building a relationship and creating a sense of vulnerability in the agent.

Some spies operate under official cover, such as a diplomat at an embassy. Other spies, such as those featured in the movie “The Good Shepherd,” work without any cover and must create their own. This requires a great deal of planning and effort, and is a high risk proposition. If caught, a spy could face arrest or even execution.

Industrial espionage is another type of espionage, in which an individual steals trade secrets or confidential information for economic gain or competitive advantage. These individuals can be spies, but they can also be employees of a competitor or a criminal organization. The practice is illegal and punishable in most countries. The leak of classified documents by CIA analyst Edward Snowden to the New York Times and other news outlets was an example of this kind of espionage.