New Paper Tackles Insider Threats and Commercial Espionage

May 26, 2021

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) has released a new white paper, Insider Threats and Commercial Espionage: Economic and National Security Impacts that provides an overview of the threat posed by economic espionage and the role of trusted inside actors in stealing sensitive material for the benefit of foreign competitors.

Developed by INSA's Insider Threat Subcommittee, the paper finds that intellectual property (IP) theft costs the United States between one and three percent of its $21 trillion annual GDP. And since many advanced technologies have military and intelligence applications, the theft of this IP can have significant implications for U.S.  national security.

Of note, the paper suggests that "by better understanding why trusted insiders steal economic and commercial information, government officials and industry executives can develop strategies to mitigate and prevent economic espionage and its detrimental effects on the United States."

Key recommendations include:

  • Expanded government outreach to corporate and academic leaders, particularly at smaller institutions, regarding foreign adversaries’ targets and methodologies
  • Intensified efforts by companies and universities to instill a culture of security in their organizations
  • Government programs to help companies and universities—particularly ones that conduct government-sponsored research and development—evaluate their security postures and establish comprehensive insider threat programs