IP threat spooks IT execs

The recession has increased concern among IT executives over the theft of intellectual property (IP).

In a survey by security firm McAfee, 42% of the execs polled said sacked employees turning rogue was the greatest threat posed by the economic downturn, while 36% said they were worried about the potential opportunistic misbehaviour of increasingly cash-strapped employees.

The 800 companies surveyed (from countries including the US, UK, Germany, Japan, China, India, Brazil and Dubai) estimated they lost a combined $4.6 billion worth of intellectual property last year, and spent $600 million repairing the damage caused by data breaches.

McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt claimed that based on the survey’s findings, “McAfee conservatively estimates that the global damage from data loss [surpassed] $1 trillion.”

Interestingly, the report found that companies in developing countries are more likely to spend money on protecting intellectual property than their counterparts in the West.

In fact, organisations in Brazil, China and India apparently commit more money to securing IP than those in Germany, UK, US and Japan combined. According to McAfee, 47% of Chinese respondents also believe the United States to be the biggest threat to their intellectual property.

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