Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Travelling to China? Leave your laptop at home

American Government officials and private business people travelling to China are taking more and more precautions against hacking and digital espionage, according to a report in The New York Times. While many people simply leaving their electronics behind, others have separate devices for travelling or follow elaborate routines for blanking out the hard drives before leaving and sanitizing them once again upon return. Travellers have also learnt to take the batteries out of their phones to protect themselves from spyware that might clandestinely start recording their meetings and conversations.
China isn’t the only offender, but its growing importance in world politics and economics make it a huge danger. Laptops that make it back from China are often infected with malware that spreads across a company’s network as soon as they connect to it upon return. The malware then sneaks into other computers, printers and networked appliances in order to avoid detection and allow remote attackers to gain access to corporate secrets.  Top government officials are said to be fully aware that every single laptop taken into China by officials in various government had returned without some sort of deliberate and persistent malware infection. It is also illegal to carry encrypted storage devices into China without prior government approval.


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