FBI cracks down on economic espionage

It's a constant threat to our economic security that many americans say they know little about.

It's called economic espionage. And according to the FBI, it has cost American businesses at least $13 billion dollars.

"Basically, economic espionage takes our trade secrets, U.S. trade secrets and provides them to a foreign government or foreign entity,” says FBI special agent Debra Evans Smith of the counterintelligence division.

American businesses are at almost constant risk of losing sensitive data, such as unique technology, to foreign hackers. Smith has worked these cases and says there's another risk inside company walls in the form of an employee who is helping.

In nine U.S. cities including, Washington, the FBI is using digital billboards to alert Americans that the risk may be as close as the next cubicle.

Since 1996, only eight cases of economic espionage have been resulted in convictions. Smith says companies don't want to admit they've been hacked. Or, don’t know.

“We want them to know what signs to look for in their employees and in their own networks,” Smith says.

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