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FBI Concerns For Business Amid Business Espionage Difficulties

It seems that recently the FBI has issued a warning to businesses regarding increasing bonding and countermeasures within their industry. Specifically the FBI is worried about two trends; First, an increase in bonding between spouses and ex-spouses to the extent that the FBI is worried about people potentially leaving the country to marry someone they would not normally be seen with if the investigation was still open. Second, and increasingly the focus of attention, an increase in countermeasures and spying by corporate insiders within the business community. The FBI is not saying they have evidence of this, but the trend does present a significant danger to our nation. We need to understand why the FBI is concerned and what measures they are taking to counteract it.

A large part of the FBI’s concern is an ever increasing number of partnerships and collaborations between corporations and international terrorists. While some analysts think this is due to a lack of interest on the part of businesses to partner with international terrorists due to fears of U.S. exposure of classified information, others think it is due to corporate espionage and countermeasures. The FBI does seem to be worried about an increasing number of partnerships between terrorists and foreign companies, and one of the ways they have been able to do this is through corporate electronic eavesdropping. The Federal Trade Commission recently held an annual electronic eavesdropping trade show to gather more intelligence on how companies interact with each other to avoid laws against electronic and telecommunications commerce.

Businesses at the trade show were asked to wear a shirt that said, “I Am An Informant”, with a picture of a diagram showing how a cellphone works. Businesses were also asked to demonstrate how they use their cell phones to call designated phone numbers, and then demonstrate how they could intercept those calls in real time to obtain information. This demonstrates that employers are more interested in countermeasures than they are in detection of law breaking, which some people believe is the real issue. Many companies attending the eavesdropping expo were from countries that have harsh human rights records, such as China, which has cracked down on its citizens for many years, and still continues to do so.

There is no telling what kind of countermeasures the government will find, or if it will even find anything at all. Some believe that the Department of Justice will probably not announce any new investigative tactics, while others believe that the Department of Homeland Security does have plans for expanding its eavesdropping programs. On the corporate front, one of the latest trends at the trade shows is to use “whistleblowers” to blow the whistle on corporate wrongdoings. In some cases, this may not work. If you are concerned about your company’s reputation being ruined by a disgruntled employee, or a rogue hacker, you may want to consider consulting with a legal professional prior to approaching this particular matter.

Many countermeasures work, even if the outside observer cannot see them. For instance, an individual who has access to highly confidential information will be able to hack into a computer without the user knowing it, altering any documents or changing online passwords. A disgruntled employee, who has access to the inner workings of a corporation, also has the potential to expose these sorts of things. It is important, when traveling abroad, to be aware of the language restrictions, especially in places that are known for spying on tourists, such as Cuba. In many parts of the world, eavesdropping by government authorities is very common, and if you are not careful, you could find yourself in serious trouble.

The good news is that there are countermeasures available. Countermeasures for businesses range from spoofing, where a hacker tricks a network into thinking that it is under attack, to countermeasures that block the use of certain standard ports. Companies that travel a lot have to keep an eye on their networks and ensure that any of these countermeasures are in place. Additionally, many corporations have put systems in place that allow them to easily identify suspicious activities, such as bandwidth usage. Spectrum Analyzer is a software tool that is used by many organizations to increase their security measures and save money by decreasing the amount of time that is taken to secure their networks.

Woodward & Bernstein
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