Mergers and acquisitions can lead to serious cybersecurity issues, according to research from cybersecurity company FireEye.
The report claimed that cyberespionage is a particular area for concern as companies involved in talks can spy on competitors to gather information about them and negotiate favourable terms.
William Glass, threat intelligence analyst at FireEye, said that he has seen corporate spying programs which target executive emails, financial statements and documents related to executive insurance policies and wills.
He added that this was a particular problem in China, where the state has been known to sponsor attacks in order to allow Chinese companies to acquire businesses at the “absolutely lowest price.” This kind of cyberespionage is particularly difficult to prove as it leaves few ‘red flags.’
Employees disgruntled by a merger or acquisition can also present an insider threat to businesses. Concerns about job losses or restructuring can lead to data breaches or other attacks.
Cybersecurity capabilities also form part of the body of information which is used to decide the value of a company. Vulnerability to cyber attacks can, therefore, lower the valuation of a company. This is particularly important to corporate acquirers, who are paying more and more attention to cybersecurity concerns.
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