The View Through The Polemoscope
Putting The Spy World In Perspective
A polemoscope is an optical device that looks like a small telescope. It dates back to the opera
houses of the late 1700s where curious patrons used it to spy on other members of the audience
while the polemoscope was pointed at the stage. A mirror set at an angle inside the device gives
a clear 45-degree angle view to the side.
A small polemoscope sits on my desk as a constant reminder that the world is changing in ways
that require new viewpoints and new perspectives. The polemoscope doesn't magnify or distort
what I see; it simply allows me to look at the world from a different angle. This is the first step in understanding business espionage.
The Four Faces Of Business Espionage
There have been many changes in the business world since BECCA was founded
in 1987. Current business espionage threats include
1. Pretext Attacks
Pretext attacks have always been basic to business espionage. The Internet makes planning and executing sophisticated pretext attacks even easier than it was before. The questions used in an attack are carefully worked out in advance, disguised to hide the attacker's real intent, then posted to targeted mailing lists and other social media venues.
2. Computer Abuse
Computer systems are always vulnerable, especially if computer access codes are well known or posted around the office. Wireless communications and other technological advances make physical security safeguards less effective than in the past.
3. Technical Surveillance
Technical surveillance is part of many spy operations. Spies buy legal wireless microphones. tiny video cameras, drones, robots and other surveillance equipment, then use them illegally in many combinations and settings. A bug can be planted almost anywhere.
4. Undercover Operations
Undercover spy operations were one of the earliest forms of spying. They are often successful, and may go on for months, or even years, depending on the objectives of the attacker.
For more information about the Four Faces of Business Espionage, see the textbook
101 Questions & Answers About Business Espionage by Wiliam M. Johnson.
Library of Congress Card Number: 00-192680
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