Skip to main content

Home Cyber espionage

Cyber espionage

(also cyber spying)

Cyber espionage definition

Cyber espionage is the practice of using digital means to access and obtain secrets and information without authorization. Cyber espionage can be carried out by private individuals, competitors, and governments for economic, political, or personal gain.

Types of cyber espionage

  • In national cyber espionage, a government-sponsored attack targets another nation state.
  • In corporate espionage, spies steal things like financial information, private patents, or client information from their competitors.

Cyber espionage example

  • In 2010, a wide-ranging cyber espionage operation called Operation Aurora was launched against over 20 different corporations, including tech giants like Google and Yahoo, to steal swathes of intellectual property.
  • In 2006, spies targeted 70 organizations including the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee with malware delivered via email. During the attack, enormous amounts of sensitive data were stolen, but the culprits are unknown to this day.

Preventing cyber espionage

  • Ensure that employees use a VPN.
  • Implement an endpoint security system.
  • Use backup and encryption.
  • Keep software updated.
  • Keep databases segregated.
  • Ensure employees use secure passwords.