Employees steal data to make good impression in a new job

Computer spy

Almost all employees that steal data from their companies do so in order to gain headway in their new job.

An overwhelming 95 per cent of all the internal data theft is carried out by an employee who wants to get an advantage once they've left the firm, according to a report from business law firm Mishcon de Reya, in. Of those, 30 per cent do so to set up a competing business model and 65 per cent to use the information in a new role with an existing competitor.

The information often ends up as a "dowry" that the thief brings to secure employment with the rival.

Verizon's Data Breach Investigations Report adds that over 70 per cent of IP theft cases are committed within 30 days of the employee announcing their resignation. Of the data stolen, the majority comprised of customer data and internal financial information.

Demographically, lone men between the ages of 24 and 35 are the most likely to commit data theft. 62 per cent of all internal thefts were perpetrated by men, 18 per cent by women. Only 7 per cent of all the incidents were committed by groups of mixed sex.

Despite the easy availability of USB memory sticks, CDs, DVDs and storage platforms, the most common method for the theft was email. Over half (56 per cent) of cases involved the use of attachments in emails outside of the company, while 26 per cent of thieves took the physical route and printed out the info. USBs and memory sticks accounted for just six per cent.

Mishcon offer some advice for those who may find a new employee offering confidential information. Ensuring in writing that the data they provide is wholly owned by them. Seeking legal advice should be the first port of call, as attempting to use the data in any way could result in powerful injunctions.

The study covered 150 cases handled by the firm, including listed companies, financial institutions and SMBs.