Weekly Feature

2016-06-23 / Business

Chamber event highlights economic espionage threat


Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce members got security tips from Federal Bureau of Investigations and Department of Homeland Security officials last week during the Chamber’s monthly luncheon at the Holiday Inn Buffalo Airport.

The presentation, “Economic Espionage and Theft of Trade Secrets,” was sponsored by the Cheektowaga Economic Development Corporation and hosted by the Chamber. Attendees learned techniques to protect sensitive data and avoid fraud, as well as ways to alert federal agencies, such as the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations, the investigative arm of DHS.

According to Jarrod Randle, an HIS agent, many business owners, particularly of smaller companies, do not appreciate the risk of falling prey to fraud, economic espionage or trade secret theft, especially through the export process.

“I know a lot of you don’t deal directly with exports, but maybe you have customers, clients, community members that do deal with exports … it really is such an important aspect of protecting the homeland,” he said.

While Randle and fellow HIS investigator Gabe Butler explained more overt ways foreign adversaries target U.S. businesses and technologies, FBI Special Agent Lindsay Gorman and Staff Operations Specialist Jennifer Zientowski touched on clandestine threats to businesses. Gorman said paying attention to indicators of fraud or economic espionage, as well as addressing potential vulnerabilities, is paramount for business owners.

The threats are not simply academic. Gorman said economic espionage and trade secret theft accounts for up to $500 billion per year in economic losses.

Gorman and Zientowski also highlighted extra security measures business owners and employees can take while abroad, including avoiding WiFi and leaving extraneous items, like library cards and extra credit cards, at home.

For more information about the presentation or future Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce luncheons, visit the Chamber’s website at cheektowaga.org or call the office at 684-5838.

email: bjackson@beenews.com

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