Chapter 8
Your Intellectual Property Isn’t Safe
If one thing didn’t work, I’d just try something else because I knew there was something that would work. There is always something that works. It’s just a matter of finding out what.
— Erik
What’s the most valuable asset in any organization? It’s not the computer hardware, it’s not the offices or factory, it’s not even what was claimed in the once-popular corporate cliché that said,“Our most valuable asset is our people.”
The plain fact is that any of these can be replaced. Okay, not so easily, not without a struggle, but plenty of companies have survived after their plant burned down or a bunch of key employees walked out the door. Surviving the loss of intellectual property, however, is another story altogether. If someone steals your product designs, your customer list, your new-product plans, your R&D data — that would be a blow that could send your company reeling.
What’s more, if someone steals a thousand products from your warehouse, or a ton of titanium from your manufacturing plant, or a hundred computers from your offices, you’ll know it immediately. If someone electronically steals your intellectual property, what they’re stealing is a copy and you’ll never know it’s gone until long afterward (if ever), when the damage is done and you’re suffering the consequences.
So, it may come as distressing news that people with hacking skills are stealing intellectual property every day — and often from companies that are probably ...

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