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IP Theft Case

A very recent Department of Justice case perfectly demonstrates the need to locate and control your intellectual property. In this case hackers stole technology of a turbofan engine being used in European and U.S. airliners.

How they did it

Hackers “used a range of techniques, including spear phishing, sowing multiple different strains of malware into company computer systems, using the victim companies’ own websites as ‘watering holes’ to compromise website visitors’ computers, and domain hijacking through the compromise of domain registrars”.


Naturally in a large project spanning multiple countries, it is difficult to maintain control of sensitive data especially as it begins to creep across various endpoints such as desktops and laptop. As stated in this Corporate Counsel article, “…the lesson in this is that IP theft is a ‘long game’ and that companies should be protecting their IP much as they protect personal data”. Locating and classifying trade secrets should be of the utmost importance to any organization but is often overlooked because of a lack of tools to search, locate and classify such information especially on unstructured data.

You can’t protect what you can’t find

It is critical that companies institute policies for dealing with company confidential information. Storage, access and control of data can be managed, but the first step must be in locating sensitive data such as trade secrets or IP “in the wild” across both structured and unstructured data sources. Only after discovery can the task of locking down controls, remediating files with quarantine or deletion tools, or collecting files to a secure data store begin.