Espionage and intelligence collection are part of the national security apparatus of every state. Cyber espionage involves deliberate activities to penetrate computer systems or networks for obtaining information resident on or transiting through these systems or networks. A pertinent subset is economic espionage, where a state attempts to acquire secrets held by foreign companies. Of course, states conducted economic espionage before the Internet, but the availability of cyber exploitation rapidly and significantly expanded the activity. But today, traditional state-sponsored surveillance and espionage have been transformed into high-tech and high-stakes enterprises. Some of the cyber activity is electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, mimics traditional spying, and services a range of what most of us would concede are legitimate national security objectives. However, a good deal of the cyber sleuthing involves economic matters, and is undertaken by states or their proxies to secure comparative economic advantage.
William C. Banks,
Cyber Espionage and Electronic Surveillance: Beyond the Media Coverage,
Emory L. J.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/elj/vol66/iss3/3