Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Planning on going to the Olympics?

From today's SANs Newsbites (http://www.sans.org/):

--Gordon Brown Aide's BlackBerry Stolen on China Trip (July 20, 2008) An aide to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown fell prey to a likely "honeytrap" scheme in January when his BlackBerry phone was stolen after he brought a woman he met at a disco in China back to his hotel room.
The aide was accompanying the PM on the trip; he reported the device missing the next morning. Officials suspect the incident was orchestrated by Chinese intelligence. It was not disclosed whether the device held top-secret information, but even so, it could potentially be used to gain access to the Downing Street server. Blackberrys used by Downing Street staff are password-protected but most are not encrypted. The aide has been informally reprimanded.
[Editor's Note (Ullrich): A nice reminder to leave electronic devices at home when traveling abroad. And if you are geek enough to take them, being all for sudden popular with women is a dead giveaway for an intelligence operation.
(Northcutt): Classic! If you know anyone going to the Olympics, please share this story with them and suggest they leave their laptops and other electronics at home. This will be a field day for Chinese intelligence gathering. They have been targeting people and are quite
(Paller) Or take "travel-tops" and "travel-phones" that are throw-aways without sensitive data or access to sensitive systems.

I especially liked the comment "being all for sudden popular with women"! That one raised a chuckle.

Unless the chinese telco's block the IPsec ports then this probably couldn't happen with a WM6.1 device running under SCMDM and better yet you'd be able to wipe it remotely to eliminate the risk of compromise[1]. If the vpn comes up you're golden.
And as for the bit about Gubmit employees using phones that aren't encrypted, that's a bit of a shocker. WM6.1 would have taken care of that nicely, too.

Better would be using your phone with a Redfly (what the editor referred to as a "travel-top", although I hadn't heard it called that before). No need to take your laptop with you at all. Link here: http://www.celiocorp.com/

[1] Not the same kind of compromise as the article speaks to ;-)

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