Feeds

Britain warns businesses of Chinese 'honey trap'

Sex, spies, and memory sticks

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Britain's MI5 security service has accused the Chinese government of engaging in an unusually wide-ranging campaign to breach UK business computer networks, in some cases exploiting sexual relationships to pressure individuals to cooperate.

The so-called "honey trap" methods were aimed at business executives at trade shows and exhibitions and involved offers of "lavish hospitality and flattery," according to an article in The Sunday Times. The New York Times quickly confirmed the report. The effort also involved the giving of digital cameras and memory sticks designed to surreptitiously install malware on users' PCs.

The Sunday Times cited a 14-page document titled "The Threat from Chinese Espionage" that was prepared in 2008 by MI5's Center for the Protection of National Infrastructure. A "restricted" version of the document was distributed to hundreds of British financial institutions and businesses. It described attacks on British defense, energy, communications, and manufacturing companies. It specifically named the Chinese government as engaging in the honey trap campaigns.

"Chinese intelligence services have also been known to exploit vulnerabilities such as sexual relationships and illegal activities to pressurize individuals to cooperate with them," it stated. "Hotel rooms in major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai which have been frequented by foreigners are likely to be bugged. Hotel rooms have been searched while the occupants are out of the room."

The report, which was issued more than a year ago, followed an earlier MI5 letter distributed in late 2007 that warned some 300 leaders of British businesses to be on the lookout for state-sponsored Chinese hackers carrying out electronic surveillance attacks. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.