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[ISN] Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery
Forwarded from: Simon Taplin <simon (at) simontaplin.net>
By NICOLE PERLROTH
The New York Times
February 10, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO -- When Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a China expert at the
Brookings Institution, travels to that country, he follows a routine
that seems straight from a spy film.
He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings âloanerâ
devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and wipes
clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi,
never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns
off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone
could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an
encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his
password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly,
because, he said, âthe Chinese are very good at installing key-logging
software on your laptop.â
What might have once sounded like the behavior of a paranoid is now
standard operating procedure for officials at American government
agencies, research groups and companies that do business in China and
Russia â like Google, the State Department and the Internet security
giant McAfee. Digital espionage in these countries, security experts
say, is a real and growing threat â whether in pursuit of confidential
government information or corporate trade secrets.
âIf a company has significant intellectual property that the Chinese and
Russians are interested in, and you go over there with mobile devices,
your devices will get penetrated,â said Joel F. Brenner, formerly the
top counterintelligence official in the office of the director of
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