Companies Worry About Russian Hacking And IP Security

Intellectual property usually represents information — and information can be digitized. Once that happens, it can be stolen through a variety of means by expert hackers. Many companies around the globe have become increasingly concerned about cyber warfare and how it could affect business and the overall economy on a global scale. Are they worried for good reason? The easy answer is “yes.” That’s because Russia is already using IP as a wartime tactic. 

For example, Russian doctrine was recently amended to say that Russian companies no longer have any liability related to IP thefts from “unfriendly” countries. In other words, the motherland will stand by companies that steal from its political adversaries. This is a huge gambit on Russia’s part, and could change the way Russian companies approach business in general. 

It goes beyond the simple implication that stealing can occur without consequence. Many forms of IP aren’t protected because they’re so widely available. For example, music can be easily downloaded for free by those willing to risk steep fines or jail time. Let’s say a film’s producers found the perfect song for their movie. Normally, they would approach the musical artist to obtain the rights for that song. But Russian producers can simply find the song and use it without worrying about the ramifications.

These tactics are a clear response to the sanctions imposed by western countries, and the departure of many companies from Russia — like McDonalds. 
But Russian companies could go as far as they want if President Putin opens Pandora’s Box even more. Imagine what would happen if a Russian entrepreneur used McDonalds logos and icons like Ronald McDonald to build their own copycat business model. There’s a lot of IP out there, and much of it can be easily stolen because it can’t be easily protected. The future implications are enormous — especially if other countries begin acting the same way by employing similar tactics.

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