Economic or industrial espionage takes place in two main forms. In short, the purpose of espionage is to gather knowledge about (an) organization(s). It may include the acquisition of intellectual property, such as information on industrial manufacture, ideas, techniques and processes, recipes and formulas. Or it could include sequestration of proprietary or operational information, such as that on customer datasets, pricing, sales, marketing, research and development, policies, prospective bids, planning or marketing strategies or the changing compositions and locations of production. It may describe activities such as theft of trade secrets, bribery, blackmail and technological surveillance. As well as orchestrating espionage on commercial organizations, governments can also be targets; for example, to determine the terms of a tender for a government contract so that another tenderer can underbid.

Economic and industrial espionage is most commonly associated with technology-heavy industries, including computer software and hardware, biotechnology, aerospace, telecommunications, transportation and engine technology, automobiles, machine tools, energy, materials and coatings and so on. Silicon Valley, is known to be one of the world's most targeted areas for espionage, but, in effect, any industry with information of use to competitors can be a target.

Corporate espionage is a surprisingly heavy-duty game. They call themselves security consultants instead of spies, but one's the same as the other. These guys tend to spend less time on wetwork and more time on sabotage, good ol' fashioned secret-stealing, or both.

The biggest and baddest I know of is Rasmussen Technologies. RTech maintains what amounts to a small army of security guards, security consutants, cyber-security experts. And so on. And so on. Good paying gigs, if you can land one.

—I, Spy