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When in China, don't leave your laptop alone

Bob Violino | Dec. 5, 2012
If you travel to China or Russia, assume government or industry spooks will steal your data and install spyware. Here's how to thwart them

"Individuals engaging in the theft of proprietary information use malware, and morphed attacks via ports and services that cannot be blocked from the Internet," McDonald says. "These types of attacks take advantage of systems that are unpatched and behind on antivirus" updates.

Don't assume that antivirus tools are the only defense you need, says the National Cyber Security Council's Martinez says. They are a first line of defense, but not a complete defense. To combat the hidden malware increasingly inserted into apps, websites, and other venues, he expects that companies will soon routinely collect intelligence about compromised assets containing malware that now regularly slip through networks and their traditional defenses.

7. Don't broadcast your whereabouts. Location-based tools are rapidly growing in popularity, thanks in part to the pinpoint accuracy of geolocation technology in today's mobile devices.

These services can provide useful information on places to eat or other local services, but keep in mind that there are downsides to this technology. When users check in on a location-savvy social network, they effectively broadcast to the world vital information about their whereabouts, which might provide useful information to a competitor.

A seemingly harmless check-in at an airport near a customer's headquarters could be all a savvy competitor or intelligence agency needs to plan its spying strategy, Ryan says.

When you travel overseas, you're a target Clearly, if you're a business executive planning to travel overseas, you're a potential target for corporate and government spies. Take every precaution you can to protect corporate systems and data.

That's a discomfiting reality you may be tempted to laugh off as paranoia or "it won't happen to me." Really, you shouldn't.

 

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