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[ISN] Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery



Forwarded from: Simon Taplin <simon (at) simontaplin.net>

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/technology/electronic-security-a-worry-in-an-age-of-digital-espionage.html?pagewanted=1&ref=technology

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 national intelligence.

[...]

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