With foreign cybercrime, it’s a never-ending saga: The finger-pointing over the sources of cyber attacks on the U.S., including the personal information of federal-government employees, and the suspected Russian involvement and the hacking of the DNC with Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have been similarly affected.
The U.S. government and the publications have accused Russia and China of malfeasance. But China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and two Chinese academics dispute the latter allegations.
In citing a Chinese government study in 2013, the academics were quoted in several published reports claiming China is a victim – 12,513 Chinese Web sites including 1,167 governmental sites were attacked from April to December of 2011. (To see these articles, Google: “Chinese experts slam U.S. hacking accusations.”)
The government report claimed that 11,851 foreign IPs were responsible for the attacks and that 28.1 percent of them originated in the U.S.
“The accusations are unreasonable and irresponsible,” the publications quoted Professor Zhou Shijian, a senior researcher with the Center for US-China Relations of Tsinghua University in Beijing.
The U.S. accusations were disingenuous “both in legal basis and logics,” claimed Professor Liu Deliang, director of the Beijing-based Asia-Pacific Institute for Cyber-Law Studies.
Professor Liu said the attacks on the U.S. publications could have been instigated by individuals, not the Chinese government.
… whatever the origins of the cyber attacks, they serve as urgent reminders for businesspeople to exercise due diligence — including when you travel.
“In the end, the accusation is nothing more than an excuse for the United States to wage wars on network security, and also for its trade protectionism, economic and foreign sanctions purposes,” he claimed. He contends the U.S. wants “hegemony” on the worldwide Web.
My sense is that both professors could be more diplomatic in their reactions. After all, just ask Google (Business 101 Lessons: Google vs. China’s Censors, Cybercriminals and How China-Google Controversy Still Affects Business, Government Security).
Given China’s record of censorship, hacking and countless violations of human rights, humor me.
The professors’ claims appear to be mere symbolic acts of patriotism. But whatever the origins of the cyber attacks, they serve as urgent reminders for businesspeople to exercise due diligence — including when you travel.
Protect against hackers when traveling
To defend against overseas hackers when traveling, at the minimum, here are four practical tips:
1. Don’t travel with your notebook computer that contains proprietary information. When you return home, clean your computer.
2. Remember you can’t watch your computer at all times. Your data can be stolen in customs or from your hotel room. Once there, use an encrypted drive and lock your computer in a hotel safe.
3. Don’t take your mobile device. Instead, get a pay-as-you-go phone. Otherwise, you take a big risk. Use a strong password so no one can access your data or e-mails.
4. Don’t use WIFI. And don’t conduct sensitive financial business, such as logging into your bank account.
From the Coach’s Corner, for additional insights:
11 Travel Tips – Save Money, Prevent against Cyber Theft, Fraud — The most vulnerable travelers are businesspeople. That’s because they have to use Internet and e-mail. They’re in danger expressly from vulnerabilities, such as from wirelessly accessible passports to using WIFI.
Before You Travel Abroad, Take 6 Financial Precautions Today — Whether you’re traveling to a foreign country for business or pleasure – there are at least six steps you should take. You need to do more than just making sure that your passport is current, planning your itinerary or deciding what to pack.
Tips to Prevent Hacking of Your Bluetooth — Bluetooth technology, of course, allows you freedom when talking on your cell phone. But you’ll lose other freedoms if you don’t prevent scammers from exploiting your system via a trend called “bluebugging.” Beware, cybercriminals using software, are able to intercept your Bluetooth signal to hack into your phone.
It’s not whether you win or you win or lose, but how you place the blame.