Monday, February 13, 2012


Major Boothroyd's toys?

Security tips for travelers


The "leed" paragraph on a New York Times article headlined Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery caught my eye. It read:

    SAN FRANCISCO — When Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a China expert at the Brookings Institution, travels to that country, he follows a routine that seems straight from a spy film.

My attention was drawn to the article both because of the subject and because of the unusual-in-this-day craftsmanship shown by the writer.

The article goes on to describe some of the measures Lieberthal takes to assure his private thoughts remain private.

One of his acts reminds me that we are in a "James Bond" world of spy technology.

According to the NYT story, when he travels to certain counties known for unscrupulous behavior, "he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (on his loaner computer), never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely."

The article goes on to cite Joel F. Brenner, formerly the top counterintelligence official in the office of the director of national intelligence, as stating that mobile devices carried into those countries "will get penetrated" (compromised).

The article offers both an interesting lesson in security steps that can be easily undertaken as well as some equally interesting war stories, including one about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Even if the risk management practitioner is not directly involved in security - and this is more than "just" data security - it is an article worth sharing with those who are involved with security and management, whether anyone in the organizations travels or not.

The old days of Mad Magazine's Spy-vs.-Spy have given way to the novelties provided 007 by Major Boothroyd, a/k/a "Q."

If I wrote it, you may quote it.

Longer articles at

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