Industrial espionage – a systematic literature review (SLR)

Tie Hou*, Victoria Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

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Industrial Espionage (IE) is an umbrella term covering a complicated range of activities performed to gain competitive advantages, resulting in a huge amount of financial loss annually. Currently, techniques generated by rapid developments of Internet of Things (IOTs) and Data Science are enabling a massive increase of both frequency and power of IE related activities in our increasingly challenging global commercial environment. Thus, an in-depth understanding of IE is necessary. In this paper, we report a comprehensive Systematic Literature Review (SLR) of current English literature on IE. Particularly, we systematically: i) identify key features of IE by analysing its current definitions, and coin our own working definition; ii) discuss the current state of research on IE from different academic disciplines; iii) highlight some key challenges in the current state of research on IE; and iv) identify some possible trends in its future development. Further, based on our findings, we call for more multi-disciplinary/multi-agency research on IE in order to construct a comprehensive framework to combat IE.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102019
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Security
Early online date27 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • industrial espionage
  • systematic literature review (SLR)
  • key features
  • challenges
  • RCUK
  • EP/N028139/1
  • EP/N027825/1


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