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Old Jun 8, 12, 7:13 pm   #1
 
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Cybersecurity: what precautions in China?

I'm planning a vacation trip to China in a few months. Have read some stories about how frequent corporate and government travelers don't bring their USA laptops/cell phones to China for fear of spyware etc.

Should I take precautions?
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Old Jun 8, 12, 8:56 pm   #2
 
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If you are Barack Obama, yes. If you are orville nmn wright, no.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 9:11 pm   #3
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It depends on what you might be expected to have on your equipment.
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Old Jun 9, 12, 12:05 am   #4
 
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As Loren Pechtel said, it depends on how much value you put on the information you have on your phone and laptop.

Personally I use a VPN and also check to see that I'm on an https connection when connecting to web sites that hold corporate/personal information, otherwise I don't bother much at all.
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Old Jun 9, 12, 1:10 am   #5
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Old Jun 9, 12, 10:47 am   #6
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If the China trip is a vacation, do you need the laptop? Can you use hotel business centers or even hotel concierges for stuff like checking flights? Do you have access to some other cellphone that would work in China (or would it make sense to rent one or buy a cheap one) in order to avoid taking the iphone if you're concerned?
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Old Jun 9, 12, 12:20 pm   #7
 
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Unless your laptop contains corporate or government secrets that would make you a particular target, there's no reason that you'd need to take any more precautions in China than at home. If one of these scenarios does apply to you, you should be asking the proper group within your organisation about the necessary precautions to ensure you are in compliance.

Using business centres or internet cafés is more dangerous, as you can never be certain if the computer you're using has a keylogger or other spyware installed that's stealing your passwords and data (this applies everywhere, of course, not just China).
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Old Jun 9, 12, 1:23 pm   #8
 
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As others say, it all depends on what you have on on your laptop and who it would be of interest to. If you are in govt, high tech, defense etc you probably already know the precautions.

As a tourist with presumably little info of value, i wouldnt worry much. I will usually change the password of any important sites i accessed once i get back to the states as a simple precaution.
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Old Jun 9, 12, 8:37 pm   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scifience View Post
Unless your laptop contains corporate or government secrets that would make you a particular target, there's no reason that you'd need to take any more precautions in China than at home. If one of these scenarios does apply to you, you should be asking the proper group within your organisation about the necessary precautions to ensure you are in compliance.

Using business centres or internet cafés is more dangerous, as you can never be certain if the computer you're using has a keylogger or other spyware installed that's stealing your passwords and data (this applies everywhere, of course, not just China).
Exactly. I've never taken precautions because there's nothing on it that would be a target for industrial espionage. I know how to secure the data, it's just there is no reason to. If they got everything on my HD, so what?


The cafe's are hardly secure. I've found nasty stuff on a flash drive I plugged into a cafe machine even though the machine had some equivalent of Deep Freeze on it.
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Old Jun 9, 12, 10:10 pm   #10
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You're fine relax.
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Old Jun 10, 12, 10:21 am   #11
 
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I'm not particularly concerned about what a hacker might take out of my computer/cellphone (although like everyone I certainly have some info that could present identity theft issues). I'm more interested in what could be put in-- installed without my knowledge. Spyware.

Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery

But I'll take mnredfox's advice.
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Old Jun 10, 12, 11:50 am   #12
 
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Hmmm, I remember reading that article when it came out. Spyware is something to take precautions against even when you're at home, not just because you're going to be visiting China.

If you're using a mac check out "Little Snitch". It checks to see if any programs are attempting to connect to the internet; in some cases this can make attempts by any spyware to install themselves / connect to the internet more visible, and give you a chance to deny the access. (Not that there's a lot of mac spyware out there ...)

For Windows, I guess the best thing to do would be to keep your browser and antivirus software updated. I also turned off the autorun function for my CD drive and also for any USB drives that are inserted into my PC as that's one of the ways viruses etc can slip in.
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Old Jun 10, 12, 12:48 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orville nmn wright View Post
I'm not particularly concerned about what a hacker might take out of my computer/cellphone (although like everyone I certainly have some info that could present identity theft issues). I'm more interested in what could be put in-- installed without my knowledge. Spyware.
IMO, that NYT article is classic scaremongering. Spyware is just as big a problem in the US as in China or anywhere else. You're equally likely to get emailed a trojan, targeted for a phishing scheme, or accidentally come across a malicious website at home or at the Starbucks down the street as you are in China. You should always be taking precautions against such attacks regardless of where you are located. Keep your software and operating system up to date, don't open random attachments, don't respond to phishing emails, etc. Your guard should be up against these things everywhere.

Unless your background makes you especially likely to be a target of industrial or governmental espionage, where someone would have a very strong incentive to specifically target you, there is no significantly greater or lesser risk of being victimised by spyware in any given country. A random attack is no more likely abroad than at home.

As everyone else has said, stop worrying and enjoy your trip.
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Old Jun 11, 12, 12:25 am   #14
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Is this thread for real?
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