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Is your company one of the two fifths hit by IP theft?

Worldwide theft of intellectual property is more rife now than ever before, according to new research. A study conducted by Kaspersky Lab has revealed that 21 per cent of manufacturers have suffered a loss of intellectual property (IP) within the past year.

The survey, which quizzed nearly 4,000 IT managers across 27 countries, found that manufacturers ranked “Internal Operational Information” and “Intellectual Property” as the two types of non-financial data they fear losing the most.

Interestingly (and perhaps scarily), manufacturers ranked the fear of losing “Customer/Client Information” the lowest out of all business segments. However this is probably because manufacturing facilities are less likely to store this information in the first place.

When asked about the cause of their most serious data loss event within the past 12 months, “Malware” was the most common cause among manufacturing businesses, with 23 per cent of respondents.

Manufacturers also reported other sources of incidents leading to data loss, including “software vulnerabilities” (eight per cent), “network intrusion” (eight per cent), “information leaked on mobile devices” (five per cent), and “targeted attacks” (three per cent).

Authorities in the United States indicted five Chinese hackers back in May for widespread attempts to steal IP from US firms and hand it over to either the Chinese government or private companies in China. The co-conspirators used e-mail messages known as 'spearfishing' messages to trick unwitting recipients into giving the co-conspirators access to their computers."

When we spoke to Bullguard's Alex Balan back in November, he said that companies need "military-style drills" against social engineering attacks. Looks like he might have been right.

Read more: How to avoid getting stung by a spear phishing scam