Phenomena of economic and industrial espionage are difficult to comprehend as this area is shaped by a diffuse and ambiguous terminology. Besides scenarios of "classic" espionage undertaken by foreign intelligence agencies this field also includes incidents of competitive espionage, commercial spying or industrial theft. Today those crimes combine elements of crimes against state security, economic as well as cybercrime.
Against this background the research project WISKOS, a German acronym for economic and industrial espionage in Germany and Europe, focused on systematically analyzing the threat of economic and industrial espionage posed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Furthermore, the project dealt with the respective risks confronting scientific organizations as well as assessing the stance of the police on this area of crime. The overriding interest consisted in the development of measures for preventing the loss of knowledge and protecting confidential information. With this aim in mind the research team took a geographically as well as methodically comprehensive approach towards the area of interest.
A summary of the main findings in English is available.