There were 209 reported attempts of technology theft in the past five years, an overwhelming majority of them from small- and midsize companies, South Korea's spy agency said Tuesday.
According to a center for protection of industrial secrets under the National Intelligence Service, attempted theft of trade secrets to foreign countries has grown to cover a wider range of sectors, with smaller companies falling prey because of weaker security awareness and lack of resources to invest in advanced security system.
Over the five years from 2009, 35 percent of the attempted thefts were in the electricity and electronics sector. Machinery was next with 31 percent, followed by information and communication with 12 percent, chemicals with 6 percent and life science with 3 percent.
The center noted the difference from early 2000s, when the most coveted technology was in the information and communication and electricity and electronics sectors.
More than 60 percent of industrial espionage were attempted by former company employees, with 19.6 percent tried by those employed at the time.
Eighty percent of attempted technology leaks were motivated by profit, the center said.
"With advanced technologies in IT, technology thefts have become massive and rapid in scale and speed in recent years," the center said. It urged the public to actively report such activities, stressing that technology leaks would cause serious damages to the country. (Yonhap)