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 user 2005-06-04 at 9:47:00 am Views: 100
  • #9477
    Secret world of industrial espionage

    An Israeli police investigation into a ring of companies suspected of
    using a sophisticated computer virus to spy on rivals has shed new light on the
    shadowy world of industrial espionage.

    Rocket rivals

    US defence giant Lockheed Martin sued rival defence contractor Boeing in
    2003, alleging industrial espionage in the race for US Air Force contracts.

    Lockheed Martin said Boeing had acquired thousands of confidential documents
    relating to its bid for a $2bn (£1.1bn) military rocket programme in 1998.

    As a result, the Pentagon barred Boeing from rocket work and revoked $1bn
    worth of contracts with the company.

    The ban was only lifted this month, when both companies announced they were
    planning to bury their rivalries over US government rocket contracts by forming
    a joint venture.

    Store war snoop

    In 2004, UK retail icon Marks & Spencer revealed it was investigating an
    apparent attempt to spy on the mobile phone records of its boss Stuart Rose.

    The company confirmed that someone had attempted to access Mr Rose’s phone
    records from mobile network O2.

    Mr Rose is thought to have realised that something was wrong when 02 asked
    him for a security code which he had not set up.

    The apparent phone snooping came at the height of a bitter takeover battle
    for M&S.

    Swedish mole

    A diplomatic row between Sweden and Russia broke out in 2002, following
    allegations of espionage at Swedish telecoms and defence giant Ericsson.

    Sweden expelled two Russian diplomats after Swedish police arrested three
    people on suspicion of supplying confidential company documents to a contact in

    Moscow later responded in kind by expelling two Swedish diplomats.

    Although known for its mobile phone interests, Ericsson was also a key
    manufacturer of advanced technology for the Anglo-Swedish Gripen fighter jet.

    However, the leaked documents were not thought to be linked to military

    Dirty laundry

    US consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble agreed to settle out of court
    with Anglo-Dutch rival Unilever over allegations of corporate spying in 2001.

    Proctor & Gamble, whose household brands include Ariel and Daz washing
    powders and Pantene shampoo, was alleged to have searched through the rubbish of
    Unilever for commercially sensitive information.

    Unilever products include the Organics and Sunsilk brands of shampoo.

    Proctor & Gamble admitted breaking its own rules on corporate espionage
    to obtain information on Unilever’s hair care business.

    Supersonic mystery

    At the height of the Cold War in 1968, a supersonic passenger jet took to the
    skies of the Soviet Union shortly before the maiden flight of Concorde.

    The ill-fated Tu-144, which was quickly nicknamed Concordski in the West,
    bore a remarkable resemblance to its Anglo-French supersonic rival.

    According to papers smuggled out of Russia by dissident KGB officer Vasili
    Mitrokin, detailed documents spanning thousands of pages of technical
    specifications on new aircraft such as Concorde were stolen by a spy codenamed

    The Soviet Union was able to steal a march on its Cold War rivals but
    Concordski’s commercial future was all but finished after one of the planes
    crashed at the Paris Air Show in 1973, killing 13 people