Protect your Intellectual Property – with (cookie) cans

Posted on July 10, 2011 by


In the meeting rooms of Evonic Industries, a German company
specialized in chemicals, one can nowadays always find empty cookie cans. Not because Evonic managers are particular affectionate about sweets, but because they are supposed to put their cell phones into the cans when discussing confidential matters. The measure is one of the many instructions of Evonics Know How Protection Officer, Dr. Andreas Blume. In Germany, Evonic is one of the top targets for international espionage from all sides, last but not least because of its advance in bringing Lithium-Ion battery technology to serial production (together with Daimler), a technology supposed to influence the future of the car industry, in other words, worth billions (or trillions) of Euro, Dollars,Rubles and Yens…
Putting a cell phone into a (metal) can is a simple but very effective trick to shield the cell phone (due to the Faraday effect the can has) from eavesdropping or from using it as a bugging device (the latter one apparently works even with “switched off” phones, which is while it is better to put them into a Faraday cage than to just simply switch them off).

Of course this is just of many countermeasures Evonic’s Know How Protection Officer (one of the first with that title in Germany) has introduced to the Organization, a list headed by user training and measures to raise awareness.
When I read about this in the Kindle edition of the
“Wirtschaftswoche”, it reminded me once more that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and that Information Security and Intellectual Property protection in particular require holistic approaches.

Posted in: Observation