Insiders, not hackers, biggest information theft risk

Tuesday, 1 October 2002, 11:06 AM EST

U.S. companies worried about hackers stealing their trade secrets should be even more afraid of former employees, competitors and contractors, according to a new study.

Intellectual property and proprietary information are more at risk from ex-employees, foreign and domestic competitors and contractors working on-site than from computer hackers, according to a study released Monday by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International.

The study, titled "Trends in proprietary information loss," defines proprietary information and intellectual property as "information that is not within the public domain and which the owner has taken some measures to protect." It refers to, for example, information about new products and services.

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