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Feds Ask IT Execs To Throw Away Cellphones After Visiting China

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the guilty-of-aberrant-longitude dept.

Cellphones 382

sholto writes "US intelligence agencies are advising top US IT executives to weigh their laptops before and after visiting China as one of many precautions against corporate espionage. Symantec Chief Technology Officer Mark Bregman said he was also advised to buy a new cellphone for each visit and to throw it away after leaving. Bregman said he kept a separate MacBook Air for use in China, which he re-images on returning, but claimed he didn't subscribe to the strictest policies. 'Bregman said the US was also concerned about its companies employing Chinese coders, particularly in security.'"

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huh (4, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439339)

how much does data weigh? I'm sure the 1's are heavier than the 0's....

Re:huh (5, Insightful)

thefear (1011449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439389)

Data may be weightless, but how about hardware key logging devices?

Re:huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439917)

Whooooosh...

Re:huh (1)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439399)

how much does data weigh? I'm sure the 1's are heavier than the 0's....

I'd have thought the 0's would be heavier, them being all fat-looking and the 1's all skinny..
Seriously though, I think that the 'weighing' scheme is intended to detect the addition of malicious hardware (however likely or not this may be).

Re:huh (3, Informative)

thefear (1011449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439567)

malicious hardware (however likely or not this may be).

I would argue that it isn't all that unlikely. Keylogging devices can be cheaply purchased for consumers, and we already know of cases where China has broken into hotel rooms, stollen blackberry's, etc.

I actually consider it unlikely that they WOULDN'T be installing keyloggers in the laptops of execs who frequently travel to china.

Re:huh (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439611)

Now they know that we weigh them it wouldn't be that hard to cut the equivalent weight. There are plenty of internal struts that can be drilled, etc to make up for a lightweight hardware device.

Re:huh (0, Flamebait)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439401)

No, you noob. 0's are fat while 1's are skinny. When formatting a disk, make sure to use a utility to fill it with 1's instead of the 0's.

Re:huh (5, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439513)

Yeah, but only the 1's contain data. The 0's are empty.

Re:huh (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439659)

Someone doesn't get the joke...

Re:huh (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439899)

Yeah you.

Re:huh (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439687)

If you two keep arguing about 1s and 0s my monitor will fall through the desk. Type some spaces quick.

Re:huh (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440009)

Filter error: Please use less whitespace.

    Sorry, man. You'll just have to buy a stronger desk.

Re:huh (2, Funny)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439795)

You young punks are lucky.

In my day we didn't have ones and zeros, we had to use l's and O's and we were damn luck to have them.

Re:huh (0)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439411)

The data weight nothing. The hardware keylogger probably weights between 1 and 15 grams.

Re:huh (1)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439955)

And how much breadcrumbs in keyboard do? So do they also suggest to hoover the keyboard before?

Re:huh (2, Funny)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439439)

It is reported by the uptime command (system "load"). When the CPU is busy its weight increases; when you turn it off it weighs exactly zero. That's why they ask you to turn off your laptop when your airplane is taking off: to save oil by reducing weight ;)

Re:huh (1)

bheekling (976077) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439457)

I'm tempted to make a funny reply about how entropy increases cause a change in mass...

However, I'm pretty sure they're talking about hard-hacks, aka "chips under your keyboard" to listen in to network traffic, keyboard usage, hard disk IO, VGA screen dumping and what not.

Chinese Coders? (0, Troll)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439341)

How would one know if the coder is working for the Chinese? (Or are they using racial profiling to fit that bill?)

Re:Chinese Coders? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439387)

Yes racial profiling.
Thing is, the Chinese have this whole "for the mother country" thing going on, so it's a sensible precaution.

Re:Chinese Coders? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439797)

"Thing is, the Chinese have this whole "for the mother country" thing going on, so it's a sensible precaution."

And Americans don't? Americans practically invented RSI with all that damn flag waving they do, you sir are a racist.

Re:Chinese Coders? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439911)

No - you, sir, have no clue about Americans. Americans are in it for themselves, bar none. Any social interest arising from an American economic activity is merely an unintended side-effect of a self interest the executor couldn't turn into profit.

Re:Chinese Coders? (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439879)

... Thing is, the Chinese have this whole "for the mother country" thing going on, so it's a sensible precaution.

Well... THAT's racist.

Re:Chinese Coders? (1, Interesting)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440015)

Yes racial profiling. Thing is, the Chinese have this whole "for the mother country" thing going on, so it's a sensible precaution.

You say "sensible precaution", I say "blatant xenophobia/racism". The only reason people are worried about any of this to begin with is that America has that same childish and ignorant "for mother country" thing going on as well. It really disturbs me that in 2009 such hatred and bigotry is still the norm and is spouted, not only without consequence but to rave reviews and record ratings, on Fox News and right-wing pseudo-fascist radio programs. We need to realize that all of these boundaries we have set up are simply arbitrary, artificial constructs that have NOTHING to do with reality. To quote the great poet Bill Hicks, "I hate patriotism! It's a round world the last time I checked."

Re:Chinese Coders? (5, Insightful)

bheekling (976077) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439547)

It's not racial profiling, it's (current or previous) nationality profiling, you know, the information that's visible on your passport?

Re:Chinese Coders? (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439591)

I believe they mean either coders physically located in China (through outsourcing/remote offices), or Chinese nationals working in the US (who would be identified by the immigration/work authorization paperwork they should have filled out). I really doubt they mean "if he looks Asian, don't put him on security projects".

Re:Chinese Coders? (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439637)

"The meek may inherit the earth, but the strong shall take the stars."

Where ya' takin' 'em? Your mama know about that? Ya' gonna' put 'em back where ya' got 'em from, when your done with 'em?

After visiting Czechoslavakia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439351)

...or now just the the Czech Republic [goatse.cz] , many expatriates are disgusted enough to return to this mess of O'Bama Fecal Matter.

One word... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439353)

Paranoia.

Re:One word... (5, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439649)

It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you. And we have plenty of evidence that the Chinese really are. Actually, the intelligence agencies probably just forgot to say "because we're doing all this stuff to their top executives when they visit us".

Re:One word... (5, Funny)

ryanov (193048) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439809)

Don't they have a right to know how their money is spent? ;)

Re:One word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439775)

Paranoia.

Weigh the Computer. The Computer is Your Friend!

Manufacture (5, Funny)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439361)

I'm sure glad that the laptops and cellphones in question weren't MADE in China in the first place...
Oh, wait..

Re:Manufacture (3, Insightful)

bheekling (976077) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439635)

Do you think it would go undetected for long if thousands of cellphones and laptops made in China, Korea or wherever had a hardware sneak-chip installed?

Do you think it would be worth the effort to seed just a few of those thousands for some possible marginal gain? (Also keep in mind that specialized changes wreak havoc on an assembly line's schedule)

Much easier to just target the fish directly.

Good luck with that. (2, Insightful)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439765)

It's pretty hard to bug something at manufacturing time, since you usually don't have a clue as to who it's being shipped to. It can be done, but odds are you'll end up bugging a lot of 19 year old teenage girls going off to college instead of corporate execs.

Re:Good luck with that. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439847)

...odds are you'll end up bugging a lot of 19 year old teenage girls going off to college instead of corporate execs.

Either way, you win.

Re:Good luck with that. (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439897)

Still, just embed some code in the bios that boots into a keylogging management screen when you hold down s-c-r-e-w during boot. That way, you don't need to modify anything, you just need to turn it on when you happen to gain access to the hardware of an interesting person.

Why is that a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439939)

They just stop listening to the teenage girls and when they hear a corporate exec talking, note the number and keep a watch on it.

It's not like they don't have a lot of people to listen in on conversations on each new phone until they work out whether there's anything juicy going on on it.

Re:Good luck with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439989)

in theory you could build them all with the ability to be monitored, then when a Exec comes you know which one to activate.

Me sorry (-1, Offtopic)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439363)

Me just play joke.

Re:Me sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439449)

Me just play joke.

Sucky sucky?

Re:Me sorry (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439607)

me go pee pee in your coke!

Horse, close the barn door! (1, Insightful)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439375)

The laptops and cell phones were probably manufactured there. In fact most US businesses outsource there manufacturing overseas.

Re:Horse, close the barn door! (4, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439487)

Here's the thing...

If EVERY laptop and cell phone phoned home to China to give away secrets, somebody is gonna notice. REAL quick.

They need to more selectively target folks if they want to actually be able to get away with hacking a machine to send them secret data.

Re:Horse, close the barn door! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439817)

Nah,

You just do the 'Microsoft trick' of defining your way as the new standard (eg: everything phones home) and then expect everyone to follow.

Now your kit looks suspicious if it DOESN'T call home.

Re:Horse, close the barn door! (2, Insightful)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439869)

Agreed. I was alluding to the fact that since execs outsource to China then China would already know many corporate secrets. Grey market goods often come from the same plants that make authentic goods.

Re:Horse, close the barn door! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439871)

Umm, just leave a backdoor instead of phoning home then? After you figure out which phone to target, you have an easy way in.

Re:Horse, close the barn door! (5, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439927)

This is why the bugs are only activated when they detect an integer overflow error in any document called "personal finances.xls". With this method, they can be sure they're on an American executive's computer.

Re:Horse, close the barn door! (1)

networkconsultant (1224452) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440013)

Next time you find a covert channell you let the public know that your latest gadget that's going to make you and your stockholders rich was made in china and has 3 covert channells!

Re:Horse, close the barn door! (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439601)

Sure, but it looks like they are concerned over the ol' switcheroo and hardware keyloggers. You cant put that in every device, but if you can separate the exec from his phone or laptop for 15-25 mins then youre golden.

Re:Horse, close the barn door! (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439839)

15-25? Try 5. On many laptops you could get to a good access point right under the easily-removable keyboard.

Re:Horse, close the barn door! (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440003)

15-25? Try 5. On many laptops you could get to a good access point right under the easily-removable keyboard.

This, friends, is the real reason behind the famed Apple design of no user serviceable parts. Not to save weight, not to give Apple a few measly bucks for battery replacements but to prevent FOREIGN ESPIONAGE. Think about that that when you drop your Dell and 12 little plastic panels pop off.

You Windows folks aught to be shot as spies.

Worthless (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439379)

The same outsources plants that produce the goods just do a second run at night to produce grey market versions. Microsoft found this out after finding perfect counterfeit copies of their software that were only distinguished by having serial numbers that were never activated in their database, the plants that were producing packaging and holograms for their official packing were making exact duplicates for the counterfeiters.

Not Worthless (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439579)

The article is referring to planting physical keylogging or other devices on specific machines. As in breaking into your hotel room, opening up your laptop, and installing something that will send information back. This is why you should weigh before and after. TFA metions 3-letter agencies telling him to do this, so maybe they know something you don't.

Re:Not Worthless (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439671)

It's not all that surprising. British companies used to be advised not to talk business on the plane to France, because the French intelligence agencies were placing bugs in the headrests and giving sensitive information to French companies.

Re:Not Worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439909)

TFA metions 3-letter agencies telling him to do this, so maybe they know something you don't.

Yeah, they need more funding and need to drum up more FUD.

Re:Worthless (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439783)

Same thing happens with dvds, clothes, and all manner of other things... And yet they still try to claim counterfeit copies are inferior?

PCs and phones *are* made in China (5, Interesting)

pmontra (738736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439383)

How about using phones and notebooks manufactured in China? Is that ok or do we have to assume they are bugged-at-factory? Are the US starting to move their production lines back to home?

Re:PCs and phones *are* made in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439429)

Oh no, that would cost money.

Re:PCs and phones *are* made in China (5, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439587)

I read the article, and I stopped when it became clear that this information comes from Symantec. Your favorite over-paranoid, FUD-spreading company.

Re:PCs and phones *are* made in China (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439915)

But I'm sure there's a Symantec product I can buy to protect myself from this "paranoia" and "FUD-spreading"?

Re:PCs and phones *are* made in China (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439715)

The NSA has already expressed concerns over this. I don't know if this ever got turned into policy, but there are still chip fabs in the USA and Europe and I think Dell still makes PCs in Texas, so it is possible that government contracts require US-made computers containing US-made components. Of course, it only takes one compromised component to compromise the whole system...

Re:PCs and phones *are* made in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439733)

So, you think no one will notice if every phone and notebook starts phoning home to China?

Assuming they are bugged at the factory is silly. If you want to be paranoid, worry about them hiring someone working at UPS to modify it somewhere during delivery. Of course, if they can hire the UPS guy, they have a guy who regularly goes in and out of your building, so now you have to worry about just about everything else in your building...

Buy stock in tin foil.

Related story (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439391)

It's almost impossible to tell whether additional software has been installed unless you either 1) diff your HDD (hard and time consuming) or 2) weigh the laptop and see if any data has been added. The government is, for once, correct and providing helpful information.

More on this topic at this old Slashdot story [slashdot.org] .

Re:Related story (1)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439485)

The weighing is to detect the presence of hardware keyloggers and other such things.

Re:Related story (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439931)

Not necessarily. A keyboard controller chip with keylogging software will weigh exactly the same as a keyboard controller chip without keylogging software.

The real story (5, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439413)

The real story in the article should be "CTO of world's largest Windows security software company uses a mac."

Re:The real story (3, Interesting)

Jason daHaus (1419459) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439443)

Also that he doesn't let his IT department near his laptop. Thats a level of distrust that, as an IT guy, drives me absolutely bonkers.

Re:The real story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439537)

Well, apparently you have never dealt with most IT departments

Re:The real story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439645)

Look, if you hired at the lowest wages in the industry and demanded insane working hours, wouldn't you be just a little concerned some of them would be disgruntled enough to blow the whistle on your kiddie-porn stash?

Re:The real story (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439877)

Sounds sensible to me.

Re:The real story (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439913)

Maybe he has some documents detailing the latest downsizing & outsourcing plans on it. He's visiting china after all.

Re:The real story (0, Flamebait)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439489)

You can cripple a mac with Windows if you want.

Don't use a "cell phone" in China (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439437)

Its far too easy for the Communist government to tap into those, a Thuraya or Iridium satellite phone should be a bit harder but if I went to China I'd still be using a one-time pad to send messages home.

Orginal date of warning? (3, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439479)

I'm just curious. Isn't it a bit of a coincidence that this warning comes out when there is a growing trade dispute [wsj.com] with China happening now? We have been using China as our factory an major offshoring partner for quite a few years and now there are warnings.

They must be that good. (1)

Stu1706 (1392693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439515)

So they are able to bug your cell phone while it is in your pocket or in your hotel room charging. Or do they check all cell phones at the door like in The Dark Knight? Even when you RTFA it does not give you any support for these claims. I think he is a little paranoid.

Re:They must be that good. (1)

mosch (204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439559)

For the cell phone, maybe they're concerned about China pushing out OTA firmware upgrades?

Re:They must be that good. (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439857)

Pick your pocket while you're waking down the street, copy the contents across into a trojaned version, and then slip the replacement back into the victim's pocket. Or, if that's hard, tell them they dropped their phone and hand it back.

It's also a good idea to make sure you turn your phone on at the airport before you get on the plane to China. When a phone registers with a new cell, it passes on the ID of the last cell it was affiliated with (to allow routing tables to be updated). MI6 was wondering a few years ago how the Russians were able to spot their people so easily, until they realised that they were turning off their phones at the headquarters in London when they went in and then not turning them back on again until they stepped off the plane. As soon as they turned them back on, they broadcast a nice little message to the cell tower at the airport saying 'the last place I went to was very near the MI6 building' which was flagging them for extra surveillance.

this is racism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439535)

that's security through racism!

Re:this is racism (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439701)

No, through nationalism. This is against a specific nationality, nothing to do with ethnicity. Taiwan is not covered by this warning, and they're the same stock.

I me laugh, (0, Troll)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439545)

As companies continue to send more jobs and more money over to china.
It is like asking to be raped, is it really rape anymore?
Mark Bregman needs to STFU.

What about Chinese nationals? (4, Interesting)

bezenek (958723) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439557)

(The following discussion is based on real experiences and is not meant to profile people, but to state facts.)

This is really ridiculous. If the Chinese want to steal our technology, all they have to do is to contact several of the thousands of Chinese nationals who are working in the US until they find someone who needs money or other help for their family back in China.

One company I worked for had a Chinese national who was not allowed to work on part of a project because it was protected technology. The same person could have dropped the entire project onto their iPod and carried it out the door, but did not.

The ethics problem is represented by an experience I had while at an American research university. A Chinese faculty member met with the Chinese students in order to tell them in America, cheating and other ethical breaches are not considered a good way to get ahead. This suggested certain cultural differences which should not be used to discriminate, but need to be recognized because of the risks involved.

-Todd

Re:What about Chinese nationals? (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439763)

... all they have to do is to contact several of the thousands of Chinese nationals ...

History shows that approaching US Nationals with enough money [wikipedia.org] can also have the desired affect.

Re:What about Chinese nationals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439843)

This is really ridiculous. If the Chinese want to steal our technology, all they have to do is to contact several of the thousands of Chinese nationals who are working in the US

Well, of course, they are doing that as well.

Re:What about Chinese nationals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439947)

>cheating and other ethical breaches are not considered a good way to get ahead

Unless you're already rich.

Re:What about Chinese nationals? (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439969)

This truly is ridiculous.

The ethics problem is represented by an experience I had while at an American research university. A Chinese faculty member met with the Chinese students in order to tell them in America, cheating and other ethical breaches are not considered a good way to get ahead. This suggested certain cultural differences which should not be used to discriminate, but need to be recognized because of the risks involved.

In my junior high and high school (John F. Kennedy Jr. and North Miami Beach Sr.) there was rampant cheating. There was note passing, stolen test copies, students writing down questions to pass to others in the next class. This didn't affect me so much as the attitude among the students that the classes really didn't matter and they were in fact being smarter for having cheated the system.

Ethical breaches are everywhere and that's what kids do here to get ahead.

And I can say proudly that I never cheated. I worked my ass off to get my grades and took the bad grades with the good.

KLL

OTOH, DHS Might eliminate the issue as well.... (5, Informative)

atlmatt36 (1638631) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439581)

For all the barking of the agencies, it's obvious they haven't encountered the treatment I and my colleagues have encountered re-entering the US from abroad only to have laptops have the data examined, and that data be copied for "further analysis" or even the laptop confiscated for an undetermined amount of time. It's just a matter of time before other countries make the same advertisment about travel to the US.... What's the old saying (Kettle calling the Pot black).

Re:OTOH, DHS Might eliminate the issue as well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439805)

Actually, I'm not from the USA and my company tells not to have any valuable data in the laptop when visiting there, because of the "further analysis" they perform at the airports.

whats the point? (2, Funny)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439657)

The US border guards are just going to swipe the laptop and smart phones at customs anyway.

This Sounds Familiar (4, Insightful)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439727)

Remember the Cold War, when the Soviets were 10-foot-tall super soldiers who could read your mind and fart atomic infernos out of their asses? Everything was thought to be a commie conspiracy.
Is this happening again, but now we are instead fearing the Chinese?

Re:This Sounds Familiar (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439841)

Remember the Cold War, when the Soviets were 10-foot-tall super soldiers who could read your mind and fart atomic infernos out of their asses? Everything was thought to be a commie conspiracy. Is this happening again, but now we are instead fearing the Chinese?

Well at least they haven't got weapons of mass destruct ... oh wait

Good for China (2, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439741)

If everyone who visits China buys a new cellphone and laptop for the trip...
Where were those cellphones and laptops likely manufactured? China...
China stands to make quite a profit from people doing this.

Silly (1)

hansoloaf (668609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439757)

and yet we have everything built in China for sale in the US (iPhones, Lenovo, etc).

Such respect for IT! (4, Insightful)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439793)

Maybe I'm taking this a little personally because I'm an IT guy. I dunno. But I do know I'd rather not work in IT for a large, tech-based company where the CTO is quoted publicly as saying: "I don't let my IT department near my laptop".

Anybody else have a WTF moment when they saw that? Or is it only me?

Re:Such respect for IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439979)

I'm not sure what point he was trying to make with that comment and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that the report is badly phrased. How can the CTO of a Security company say he is "pretty relaxed" about following the security policies set by his own company?

Not a problem in the US! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439821)

Since in the US they'll take your phone and laptop, MP3 player and any other good stuff and demand to see your company documents if they think there's something nice in there.

PS the US has used Echelon to get Boeing a european contract by finding out the figure they had to bit under to get the contract.

This didn't require a cell phone either, so throwing away your cellphone isn't necessary there either.

So much nicer being spied on by the US government. You don't have to buy new kit all the time, just accept the espionage.

The reverse holds true (5, Insightful)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439823)

As a non-American citizen I feel the reverse holds true. When I enter the USA from Canada I should bring a seperate bare-bones, no thrills cell phone and an empty laptop. Because if the TSA decides that they want to snoop through my electronics there is no telling what information they are pulling out, government created spyware being installed, or some sort of magical chip that transmits everything I am doing back to them.

See, Conspiracy theories work both ways... No more fear mongering, okay? Lets play nice kids.

Re:The reverse holds true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439953)

You can take your tinfoil hat off sir. The only thing Canada has that we would ever want is
the occasional hockey player and more maple syrup.

The weight of those bits adds up! (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29439893)

US intelligence agencies are advising top US IT executives to weigh their laptops before and after visiting China as one of many precautions against corporate espionage.

This is very good advice, as it would instantly catch the loss of weight if any data was stolen from the laptop. You hear of data theft all the time, and all it takes is something low-tech like a scale to detect it.

This is what I find disturbing about Symantec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29439991)

"However, he said he was "pretty relaxed" when it came to following the security policies. "I don't let my IT department near my laptop"

I find this disturbing, very disturbing coming from the likes of "Mark Bregman, chief technology officer at security firm Symantec". This is one person that should know better. It's the kind of above the rules attitude that is far to prevalent in executives and that makes them so valuable for corporate espionage in the first place. Someone like Mr Bregman should know better and needs to have someone slap his hand and reign him in, even if it takes the board of directors to do it.

Policies are there for a reason Mr Bregman, it's to protect companies like yours from people like you and those that would exploit your naivety in a heartbeat. The higher in your organization you are, the more valuable you are as a target and the more rigorous your security practices need to be.

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