Intellectual Property Theft Overseas: A Complex and Growing Threat to Higher Education Institutions

Intellectual Property Theft Overseas: A Complex and Growing Threat to Higher Education Institutions

September 17, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


Hello, I’m Evan Garfield, Global Security
Specialist at On Call International. I’m here to talk to you today about the
growing threat of intellectual property theft and how it could affect higher education institutions
like yours. Let’s start off with some background information. The Justice Department indictments against
Iranian and Chinese researchers this year suggest academia faces challenges with protecting
research that has yet to be patented or published. Universities have lost billions of dollars
in stolen intellectual property, and U.S. officials report there is substantial evidence
that foreign governments are pressuring students abroad to return home with trade secrets. Some additional complexities around this sensitive
issue include: • Fear that an overreaching crackdown on
intellectual property theft will lead to discrimination against foreign students
• Fear that a crackdown will also undermine U.S. competitiveness
o Stats: Chinese students receive 10 percent of all doctorates awarded in the U.S., most
of them in science and engineering fields. There are more Chinese engineers working on
artificial intelligence at U.S. technology companies than in all of China. • These are legitimate concerns, with the
current administration considering restrictions on the number of Chinese citizens enrolled
at U.S. colleges and universities So what can institutions do to mitigate this
threat without stifling academic freedom and competitiveness? First, a more ethical and pragmatic approach
demands increased awareness, collaboration, and cyber security. The Omni Security Operations Center at Indiana
University, known as OmniSOC, reflects some acknowledgment of these much-needed improvement
areas. For example, OmniSOC uses devices attached
to its member university networks to detect malicious traffic patterns and signatures. Despite this promising approach, cyber security
remains a challenge at many universities – and they will need to acknowledge the growing
problem of intellectual property theft before any progress is made in mitigating the threat. If you would like to learn more about travel
safety or risk management best practices for your organization, contact us anytime.