Feeds

US cyberspying fears hang over Beijing Olympics

Dithers over threat level

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

US paranoia about Chinese computer hackers has created a diplomatic dilemma about whether or not to warn visitors and business people traveling to next month's Beijing Olympics about cyber-security risks.

Last month the department of Homeland Security privately warned government and key private-sector contacts of the cyber-security perils facing overseas travelers from foreign governments. Spying techniques outlined in the advisory, which wasn't made public, included copying the contents of laptop hard disks at border crossing or in hotel rooms and "loading spyware" onto BlackBerry mobile devices, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The advisory does not single out any country, but the timing of the alert, two months before the Beijing Olympics and shortly after allegations emerged that a US Commerce secretary's laptop was hacked during a December trip to China, are noteworthy.

Some businesses, such as General Electric, already issue guidance on how to minimise cyber-security risks, such as leaving laptops behind or using a dedicated travel laptop with an encrypted hard drive.

Terrorism and health risk are highlighted by state department notices but there's no equivalent alerting systems for cyber-security threats. Technology experts and government officials have been locked in an arm wrestling match about whether or not to publicly issue advisories in the run up to the Beijing Olympics for months, a unnamed member of a national intelligence task force told the WSJ.

Chinese officials said concerns that visitors to the games would be faced with running a gamut of electronic espionage attacks were baseless. "Allegations that China supports hacker attacks against U.S. computer networks... are entirely fabricated, and seriously misleading," a spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the WSJ.

In related news, US presidential candidate Barack Obama unveiled his cybersecurity strategy last week which included plans to fight corporate espionage and the creation of a role for a national cyber-security adviser. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.