Understanding Cyber Risk: Protecting Your Corporate Assets, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Understanding Cyber Risk

Protecting Your Corporate Assets, 1st Edition

By Thomas R. Koehler


142 pages

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Hardback: 9781472477798
pub: 2017-11-20
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pub: 2017-11-06
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A myriad of security vulnerabilities in the software and hardware we use today can be exploited by an attacker, any attacker. The knowledge necessary to successfully intercept your data and voice links and bug your computers is widespread and not limited to the intelligence apparatus. Consequently, the knowledge required can - at least in part - also easily be accessed by criminals trying to ‘transfer your wealth’ and competitors looking for your trade secrets. The temptation to use these easily accessible resources to the disadvantage of a rival company grows as global competition gets fiercer. Corporate espionage is nothing new, but since the dawn of the Internet Age the rules have changed. It is no longer necessary to be on-site to steal proprietary information. Cyberattacks today are cheap and attackers run a very low risk of getting caught, as attacks can be executed from anywhere in the world - an ideal breeding ground for criminal activities - and the consequences can be disastrous.

In Understanding Cyber Risk: Protecting your Corporate Assets the author provides a wealth of real world examples from diverse industries from all over the world on how company assets are attacked via the cyber world. The cases clearly show that every organization can fall victim to a cyberattack, regardless of the size or country of origin. He also offers specific advice on how to protect core assets and company secrets.

This book is essential reading for anyone interested in cyber security, and the use of cyberattacks in corporate espionage.

Table of Contents


1 Espionage: An underestimated matter

Yesterday’s paranoia is tomorrow’s threat

Digital transformation and espionage

Security risks included

Technical Progress

Loss is everywhere

Why we hear so little about industrial espionage

2 From competition to economic warfare

Business means war

The great confusion of terms and definitions

OSINT: Open Source Intelligence

HUMINT: Human Intelligence

SIGINT: Signals Intelligence


At the limits of law and ethics

Competitive Intelligence

Espionage at the expense of companies

Espionage as a business model

Anyone can be affected

3 From old-school espionage to modern methods of attack

The dawn of economic espionage

The power of fire

The broken mirror

On the way to paper

Russian economic development

How porcelain came to Europe

The secret of tea

The beginning of the English textile industry

The end of the rubber monopoly

The German steam engine

As hard as Krupp steel – thanks to some help from the English

Espionage as an international business

The dreaded copier

Supersonic spies

The fight for sovereignty in the air

When the secret service lends a hand

Hopefully it’s concrete

Gone with the wind

Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind

Bad employees

A French economic development programme

Betrayal by former employees

The Detroit and Wolfsburg strangler

Bugs for everyone

Starwood vs. Hilton

Programme code gone astray

Sharp razors

Garbage bin archaeology

Between garbage bins and false identities

Unfair play

Secret formula

The Tour de France Trojan

Long live sport

Varied interests

Perfectionist product counterfeiters

The short route to a new design

The senior executive and the babyphone

Unsafe at any speed

The notebook in the hotel room

A new age of industrial espionage

4 Economic and industrial espionage in the digital age

Helpless victims

The author and the Trojan horse

The price of support

The trainee with the USB stick

The classic hack

For whom the sun shines

Medium-sized companies in the sights of hackers

The hacker and the network

Plundered into insolvency

Spied on and repelled

Designed and collected

Operation Aurora

New hazard potentials

Dangerous places and devices

The return of the dreaded copier

The curse of the good deed

Espionage via the power plug

The Internet café risk factor

Public WLAN

Drones and espionage

Mind the camera

Smartphones as pocket bugs

Google Glass

Built-in Risks

Open back doors

The attack of the hand scanner

New security hazards

Aspects of quality and quality

Social engineering as a risk factor

Attacks via Facebook etc.

Economic espionage and sabotage

Industrial espionage and cybercrime

Your money or your network

Protection money 2.0

Industry 4.0 as a target for attack

Technical vulnerabilities as a target for extortion

Cybersecurity, cyberwar and cyberactivism

5 En route to the "spyproof" company

Recognising risks

Recognising enemies

The motives of attackers

Attackers and forms of attack

The role of state attackers


The attributability of attacks

How to recognise dangers

Employees as a risk factor

Internationality as a risk

The risk of targeted attacks

Protecting know-how

Location-based protective measures

Organisational protective measures

Personal protective measures

Technical protective measures

Basic IT protection

Disconnection from the network as a solution concept

Hacking as a defensive measure


Social media and the like

Beware of rebound effects

Counterintelligence in practice

First Aid

Pillars of corporate protection

The future of economic and industrial espionage - future risks



About the Author

Thomas R. Koehler is a founding director of CE21 Consulting, which provides specialist consultancy support to clients throughout Europe, including major telecommunications providers, medium and large enterprises of various industries, government bodies and international organisations. Before founding CE21 in 2007, he worked as a research assistant at the University of Würzburg and subsequently launched two successful start-ups in the dawning of the Internet era. He is also on the supervisory board of Baliqa Invest AG, a company focusing on technology investments. Thomas is the author of several books highlighting the risks and opportunities of our connected world for both individuals and businesses. He is a regular media commentator on Internet and society and has appeared on television and radio.

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