You Could Learn a Thing or Two from Apple’s Spying Incidents

Corporate espionage is a serious threat if you are running a successful business. Businesses, no matter big or small should be aware of it. The recent spying incidents at Apple are clear incidents that even such big names of tech industries aren’t safe from such acts.

For the second time in six months, Apple accused a Chine national engineer of stealing Apple’s trade secrets related to self-driving cars. The investigation began when another employee reported seeing the accused, Jizhong Chen was found taking photographs in a sensitive area. Chen was working as a hardware developer engineer in the company.

According to the complaint, Chen allowed Apple Global Security employees to go through his personal computer.  The employees found thousands of files which contained Apple’s intellectual property and included diagrams, schematics, and manuals. Along with that, security personnel found a hundred photographs taken inside an Apple building.

The authorities were successful in apprehending Chen the day before when was all ready to leave for China where Chen had applied for a job at an autonomous vehicle company recently. The vehicle company happens to be a direct competitor of Apple’s project. Also, another photo was found in Chen’s possession which demonstrated an assembly drawing of an Apple-designed wiring harness for an autonomous vehicle.

Espionage has affected all kind of companies. According to a G4S, a British multinational security services company has estimated the cost of corporate espionage as high as $1.1 million trillion annually. And, the impact of confidential or sensitive company information getting stolen is estimated to be around $400bn a year. This is alarming. The board of all companies should consider this as a serious risk instead of only focusing on the threat of a cyber-attack.

Companies need to pay attention to their internal processes and the security measures used to keep confidential data safe.  One of the best ways could be using the best employee monitoring app to monitor your employee activities. Most companies give their employees a cell phone for work-related tasks, installing the best employee monitoring app could assist the higher management in knowing who the employees are talking to and whether they are involved in any unethical, suspicious activity such leaking information to rivals or stealing data.

If your business never had to suffer a fate such as Apple or any other company who lost substantial information because of corporate espionage, here is what you need to learn:

The first thing you need to do is gather complete information on who, what and how:

Who: It is possible that the person who is spying on your company is an upset employee who is dissatisfied with the way things are going for him. It could also be a competitor, supplier or anyone else who has easy access to sensitive data of the business.

What are they looking for?

This question can have numerous possible answers. Let’s take a look at few of them:

  •    Client information: For any business, their customer’s information is the most valuable as it contains their financial information as well. Stealing client information not only threatens client privacy but leads to a loss of clients as well.
  •    Financial information: This includes the financial information of the business. And stealing this information could allow rivals to offer better deals to steal business, deals and steal employees even.
  •    Marketing information: When someone knows the marketing angle you are going to adopt, they would know just the right step to respond to your campaign and ruin it even.
  •    Trade secrets: corporate espionage could include stealing protected information and trade secrets treading the existing products as well as products which are getting developed.

Rivals could be after any of these and cause massive loss to your business.

How could you keep your company data safe?

  •    Review the processes and practices you have for new employees. There should be a strict screening process.
  •    Share important information with relevant employees only.
  •    Conduct a thorough security audit. Test the rights of data access and the rights of physical access to the sensitive spaces for all the employees (IT professionals, engineers, and cleaners).
  •    Track the printer and copier usage along with the restricting removable media storage. Most important USBs.
  •    You can try to control data leakage using data tagging, tracking, encryption, and machine learning methods.
  •    Establish a Clean Desk Policy which specifies that employees have to clear up their desk before leaving the workplace of all papers and any other documentation.
  •    Using the best employee monitoring app allows you to monitor your employees’ movement during work hours and see the kind of activities they are involved in.
  •    Dispose of sensitive printed material at the right time. Establish a security policy of shredding the documents as soon as you are done.
  •    Another important way to keep things under control is by using security cameras in all the common areas such as hallways and entrances etc.
  •    Establish badge access in buildings, elevators and the floors which contain important sensitive files and information. This way, no one would wander the buildings uselessly be it an employee or an outsider.

The ideas mentioned above are some tips you could implement right away and protect your business against corporate espionage. The key is to keep educating your employees constantly.  Let them know about the potential threats your company could face and the role they play in your company’s security. Make rules and establish simple safety procedures and security procedures such as password changing. Teach them with the example of social engineering and how hackers/rivals could use it to get access to company data.

Remember, your employees make up the first defense line against corporate espionage. And also the best one too as we can clearly see from the Apple example. An employee, who noticed something odd about Chen came forward and reported him.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We use cookies for providing you with the best-possible user experience. By using PrivacySavvy, you accept our privacy policy.
Cookies settings
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active

Privacy Policy

What information do we collect?

We collect information from you when you register on our site or place an order. When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address or mailing address.

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To process transactions Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature To send periodic emails The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order.

How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information. We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to?keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be kept on file for more than 60 days.

Do we use cookies?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business. If you prefer, you can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies via your browser settings. Like most websites, if you turn your cookies off, some of our services may not function properly. However, you can still place orders by contacting customer service. Google Analytics We use Google Analytics on our sites for anonymous reporting of site usage and for advertising on the site. If you would like to opt-out of Google Analytics monitoring your behaviour on our sites please use this link (

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.


The minimum information we need to register you is your name, email address and a password. We will ask you more questions for different services, including sales promotions. Unless we say otherwise, you have to answer all the registration questions. We may also ask some other, voluntary questions during registration for certain services (for example, professional networks) so we can gain a clearer understanding of who you are. This also allows us to personalise services for you. To assist us in our marketing, in addition to the data that you provide to us if you register, we may also obtain data from trusted third parties to help us understand what you might be interested in. This ‘profiling’ information is produced from a variety of sources, including publicly available data (such as the electoral roll) or from sources such as surveys and polls where you have given your permission for your data to be shared. You can choose not to have such data shared with the Guardian from these sources by logging into your account and changing the settings in the privacy section. After you have registered, and with your permission, we may send you emails we think may interest you. Newsletters may be personalised based on what you have been reading on At any time you can decide not to receive these emails and will be able to ‘unsubscribe’. Logging in using social networking credentials If you log-in to our sites using a Facebook log-in, you are granting permission to Facebook to share your user details with us. This will include your name, email address, date of birth and location which will then be used to form a Guardian identity. You can also use your picture from Facebook as part of your profile. This will also allow us and Facebook to share your, networks, user ID and any other information you choose to share according to your Facebook account settings. If you remove the Guardian app from your Facebook settings, we will no longer have access to this information. If you log-in to our sites using a Google log-in, you grant permission to Google to share your user details with us. This will include your name, email address, date of birth, sex and location which we will then use to form a Guardian identity. You may use your picture from Google as part of your profile. This also allows us to share your networks, user ID and any other information you choose to share according to your Google account settings. If you remove the Guardian from your Google settings, we will no longer have access to this information. If you log-in to our sites using a twitter log-in, we receive your avatar (the small picture that appears next to your tweets) and twitter username.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Updating your personal information

We offer a ‘My details’ page (also known as Dashboard), where you can update your personal information at any time, and change your marketing preferences. You can get to this page from most pages on the site – simply click on the ‘My details’ link at the top of the screen when you are signed in.

Online Privacy Policy Only

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our privacy policy.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page.
Save settings
Cookies settings