Intellectual property theft: A threat to the U.S. economy and national security

The distributed, collaborative nature of research requires new security strategies and capabilities.

Tom Badders
February 22, 2023 • 2 min read
Intellectual Property Theft

Intellectual property is frequently the years-long fruit of costly and arduous research. When cybercrime, nation-state attacks, and corporate espionage results in its theft, the consequences can be grave – both for the organizations that produce it, and for the nation as a whole, when that research has been done on behalf of the country’s military or critical infrastructure. 

The most recent report from the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property says that as much as $600 billion in IP is stolen every year. That’s a shocking figure, but not surprising, given the number of cyber attack surfaces inherent in distributed research.  Collaboration calls for the ability to quickly and easily access and share information, which almost by definition leads to network vulnerabilities.  As a result, the work of institutions and internal research departments is under constant threat of compromise. 

Layered defenses featuring Zero Trust strategies and solutions like multi-factor authentication are certainly needed in high-risk environments such as research institutions. But as threats against intellectual property continue to increase, determined adversaries will find ways to bypass or hack them. As one cybersecurity expert has observed, “Only the most carefully selected, deployed, and managed security technology is anything other than an extension of your attack surface.”

A new approach is needed to protecting IP, one that keeps threat actors from even seeing critical research in the first place.  Network obfuscation is a proven strategy for cordoning off research and researchers in an ultra-secure digital environment to isolate them from attack. To learn more about risks and costs of intellectual property theft and how network obfuscation can help, download the ebook: Defending the Intellectual Property of Researchers

Tom Badders
Senior Product Manager
Tom Badders is a Senior Product Manager at Telos Corporation.
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