If You Go To China, You’re Going to Get Hacked?

by Christopher Paul on February 12, 2012

From the NY Times:

Scary accusations being made by an article in the NY Times on Friday. Basically, it comes down to this: If you’re doing serious business in China and travel with electronic devices, there’s a large chance they’ll be hacked for digital espionage.

“Theft of trade secrets was long the work of insiders — corporate moles or disgruntled employees. But it has become easier to steal information remotely because of the Internet, the proliferation of smartphones and the inclination of employees to plug their personal devices into workplace networks and cart proprietary information around. Hackers’ preferred modus operandi, security experts say, is to break into employees’ portable devices and leapfrog into employers’ networks — stealing secrets while leaving nary a trace.”

The article even mentions that a printer and thermostat associated with the United States Chamber of Commerce were still communicating with China. It quotes several people who go to great lengths to avoid bringing electronics that could be compromised with key logging or listening software; some go as far as to take out the batteries of their phones when in meetings. It’s probably obvious they turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

It makes me wonder why anyone would risk doing business with China at all. I get they’re a huge market and they partner with companies like Apple to build the devices we love. But at what point does the risk/reward become so disproportionate you find some other place to do business in?

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