Posted by: The moderator | February 15, 2012

You Can’t Take it With You

Your worst enemy

If you’re going to Russia or China, you’d better leave your phone at home says the New York Times. It doesn’t really surprise me that hackers in Russia and China are tapping into foreigners’ digital devices to grab passwords, steal trade secrets, and spy on people. What does surprise me are the lengths to which companies and governments are going to prevent these kind of security breaches. These range from avoiding typing passwords directly into their devices by copying their passwords from USB drives to preventing a phone’s microphone from being used even when powered off by removing the batteries to the extreme that McAfee takes: “if any employee’s device was inspected at the Chinese border, it could never be plugged into McAfee’s network again. Ever.”

The digital world is opening the door to all sorts of high-tech theft, espionage, and industrial sabotage. Now we have to constantly check our gadgets to make sure they haven’t been bugged. Does this mean we’ll all have to live more like James Bond?



  1. One of my American friends went to China last week and his PC is not able to send emails at all. He scanned his PC yesterday and found 52 tracing cookies!!! As a Chinese, the only thing I can say at this point seems like “Welcome to China!”

  2. Do you think that maybe as technology becomes more and more ubiquitous (and eventually ‘antiquated’), people will become desensitized and changing M.O., focusing on different kinds of theft? Or do you think that because their focus is on the contained information and not the technology itself, we really will have to double-down on our security efforts and just create technology in different, more secure ways?

  3. That was my first thought that Da Huo said earlier, “Welcome to China” and Russia too. Without any international pressure on them to change their policies, they will continue to hack people’s electronics. And by “international pressure” I don’t mean just another press release saying we do not condone the actions of China stealing IP or Russia bugging your hotel room. People need to be cognizant of this before they travel. St. Petersburg still remains one of my top 5 places to visit, even knowing this.

  4. Ugh, communist governments….. They will soon spread free apps containing some malicious codes in it to suck out more information. I believe US govt has to support private industry, which develops anti-virus software for mobile devices…

  5. Thoughtful debate. But if I recall, a lot of the companies that have helped manufacture some of the sophisticated spying and tracking software are American companies, like Cisco. See here:

  6. thanks.very good blog and very good share.

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