NYT: Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by HaveMilesWillTravel, Feb 11, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/t...orry-in-an-age-of-digital-espionage.html?_r=1

    This article talks about the precautions some people take when traveling to countries like China or Russia -- taking empty loaner laptops/phones, never connecting machines back to the corporate network if they have been inspected by Chinese customs, etc.

    I have never been to mainland China, and my last trip to Russia was when it was still part of the Soviet Union (and laptops/cellphones weren't quite as popular back then as they are today :D). What precautions do you take (if any) for personal or business travel?
     
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  2. chaz4449

    chaz4449 Silver Member

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    I know not to access my bank account, from non secure Wi-Fi networks, etc... Wow, I must be naive!
     
  3. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    Oh No! I never take so many security measures. God know what has already been stolen from me!
     
  4. Blue Skye
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    Blue Skye Silver Member

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    wow! that is crazy and a little scary. now i am feeling a bit paranoid. :eek:
     
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  5. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    Meh, corporate espionage taken to a government level. If you have something very important on your laptop and you are far away from your home base, be it in US or any other country, you probably should either not have the data with you or have it protected. All the stories about VA (of all organizations) losing sensitive data should be proof enough that diligence is important everywhere.

    Some other points to consider:

    - While focusing on Russia/China, the article omits that both US citizens and visitors can have their laptops searched when coming into US. Not quite as bad as flat out stealing data, but makes arguing against other countries' rules on data importation really difficult. Laws of reciprocation kick in. Federal law changes from US side will do nothing here, just some politicians grand standing.
    - Read about Nestle, Mars and other corporate espionage cases and this is par for the course, just the "corporation" is a bit larger. In some parts of France, I can't talk about work on trains because there are many employees from a large competitor. I make sure to be working on things that won't give away who I am or what I do. We don't connect to wi-fi networks at some of our customers either.
    - I don't have any data of interest for Russian government/corporations to be interested in, but it still helps to not stand out when traveling. Smaller bags and less overall electronics helps. Remember, when going through airports, you might have your luggage scanned up to 5 times just on the way to the plane.
     
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  6. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    Everything is relative, including this. Consider how you define what network you consider OK - probably the home one you set up is fine (did you pick a good password? change it frequently enough relative to how good it is?), but what about that random boingo hotspot network (evil person can set up a look alike very easily and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference)?

    I think the key value of an article like this isn't to say you should do everything mentioned. Chances are it's not practical, you may not be targeted, and if someone does target you they will generally succeed. However, it's important to understand that something like this is very possible (rather than science fiction) and does happen with some regularity. Of course, make adjustments based on your own preferences, risk tolerances, etc.
     
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  7. effseeoh

    effseeoh Gold Member

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    It's best to presume you're on an insecure network all the time, which is probably near enough true. I'd no more care about accessing my bank's web site from china than I would from home really. I do have a BIOS password, a hard disk password, encrypted partitions etc., so it's not going to be that easy for someone to surreptiously get access to my data. Oh and I don't use windows, which probably saves me from 98% of the risks out there.
     
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  8. effseeoh

    effseeoh Gold Member

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  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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  10. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    Another thing I generally do is to use VPN when connected to an unsecure network.
     
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