[ISN] Olympic Security, China and Intellectual Property

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 02:47:29 -0500 (CDT)

By Bob Bragdon
July 16, 2008

Occasionally it's tough to write a column.not for a lack of topics, but 
because the topics all seem so old: browser vulnerabilities, more 
government regulations, the latest and greatest breaches, the Celtics' 
victory over the Lakers (apologies to Lakers fans, but I'm from Boston), 
and so on.

Then last month I had dinner with a group of security and technology 
folks in San Francisco, and Jason Hoffman from Kaiser Permanente handed 
me a topic on a silver platter. Jason asked what businesses are doing if 
their employees are attending the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Are 
organizations securing the corporate secrets that may be on the laptops 
employees carry into China?

Over the years I have heard many stories from CSOs about their 
encounters with state-sponsored IP theft and industrial espionage. Those 
stories, while including many countries, have usually focused on two 
nations in particular: France and China. It just so happens this year 
that the Summer Olympics are being held in Beijing, a nation noted for 
its accelerating economy, utter lack of intellectual property 
protections and talented intelligence services. This is a risky mix to 
encounter when you are trying to protect corporate secrets.

Nations around the globe have long focused on stealing corporate IP in 
order to give their native businesses an advantage. The former Soviet 
Union was very good at this during the Cold War, and even friendly 
states have been caught on occasion targeting their allies.

I don't want it to seem that I am China-bashing here, because that is 
not my point. The point is: What steps are you taking to protect your 
employees and the intellectual property that they may be carrying with 
them when they travel abroad? Remember that the Chinese government 
filters Internet access, preventing those within the borders of China 
from getting to certain domains that may be deemed contrary to the 
benefit of the state (think back on the whole Google issue a few years 
ago). It's not too much of a leap from there to imagining someone 
snooping around on your computer when you are online in your hotel room 
or at an Internet cafe.


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Received on Fri Jul 18 2008 - 00:47:29 PDT

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