Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The reality of digital espionage and defending against it


The New York Times has an article that talked about the reality of digital espionage and spying conducted against companies and government officials in the United States. As was widely reported late last year, things came to a head when Chinese hackers succeeded in infiltrating the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, siphoning at least six weeks' worth of email belonging to four Chamber employees.
The Times article quoted Joel F. Brenner, a former top counterintelligence official in the office of the director of national intelligence who summed up the situation this way: "If 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."
The best defense against potential digital snooping or espionage, it appears, entails leaving one's mobile phone and laptop at home. Only loaner devices devoid of company data should be brought to high risk countries, and which are also promptly wiped clean upon return. And if that's not adequate, security vendor McAfee goes a step further: If any employee's device was inspected at the Chinese border, the device will never again be allowed to plug into McAfee's network, reports the Times.

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