Intellectual Property Theft Prevention Playbook

December 17, 20234 min read

Playbook Objectives:

  • To test and enhance the organization’s readiness and response capability against threats to its intellectual property.
  • To identify potential security gaps in the company’s network and systems regarding IP protection.
  • To develop a well-coordinated incident response plan that minimizes the damage and recovery time in case of actual intellectual property theft.
  • To train IT and cybersecurity staff in identifying and mitigating sophisticated threats.
  • To ensure compliance with relevant laws and industry standards related to intellectual property.
  • To foster a culture of security awareness that emphasizes the importance of protecting intellectual property.

Difficulty Level:

  • Advanced


  • You are the cybersecurity team for InnoTech Solutions, a leading tech company renowned for its cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence and machine learning applications. With its comprehensive portfolio of patents and trade secrets, InnoTech has become a target for corporate espionage and cyberattacks.
  • Amid rising tensions in the competitive tech industry, several employees reported suspicious emails and network slowness. Preliminary investigations reveal that these could be signs of an advanced persistent threat (APT) with the intention of stealing valuable IP assets. The internal IT systems include a mix of legacy and modern technologies, with critical data stored across cloud services, on-premises servers, and employee endpoints.
  • Karen Dean, the CISO, has sanctioned an emergency Cyber Range exercise simulating a realistic exfiltration attempt of sensitive IP data. Jack Marshall, a seasoned cybersecurity analyst, is assigned as the lead for the blue team. The objective is to uncover how the attackers might have infiltrated the network, what data they’re after, and to thwart the theft while securing the network against future attacks.


  • Cybersecurity Simulation
  • Intellectual Property Theft Prevention
  • Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) Response
  • Incident Response Planning

Exercise Attack Steps:

  • Preparation and Pre-Breach Analysis: Review network diagrams and perform vulnerability scans to identify potential entry points, prioritizing critical assets associated with IP.
  • Initial Compromise: Simulate an attack where phishing emails are sent to employees with high-level access to IP data. Utilize a malware attachment to establish a foothold.
  • Establishment of Backdoor: Create a covert communication channel with a C2 (Command & Control) server to maintain persistent access to InnoTech’s network.
  • Privilege Escalation and Lateral Movement: Simulate an attacker gaining higher privileges through exploitation of system vulnerabilities, and moving laterally in the network to reach servers hosting critical IP data.
  • Data Identification: Identify where sensitive IP data is stored, using tactics similar to real attackers, like querying databases and searching file systems based on keyword patterns indicative of intellectual property.
  • Exfiltration Simulation: Attempt to copy and transfer the identified data to an external server without being detected by network surveillance systems.
  • Detection and Response: The blue team must detect the exfiltration attempt, close the security gaps, and trace back the attacker’s steps to understand their methods and reinforce system defenses accordingly.
  • Post-Exercise Review: Conduct a thorough analysis of the exercise to highlight the effectiveness of the response, tabulate weaknesses, discuss improvements in procedures and staff training, and refine the IP theft prevention strategy.