US warns Olympic travellers about electronic espionage

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In a strongly worded warning the US government warned people visiting Beijing for the start of the Olympic Games that they should trust no-one with their electronic devices..

The National Counterintelligence Executive warning was issued on Thursday and warns that while government officials and senior business executives are most at risk no-one should consider themselves too small a target.

“Security services and criminals can track your movements using your mobile phone or PDA and can turn on the microphone in your device even when you think it’s off. To prevent this, remove the battery,” the warning reads.

“Security services and criminals can also insert malicious software into your device through any connection they control.”

Travellers are advised to not take electronic devices into the country unless absolutely necessary and to assume that your hard drive has been copied if your device is examined by customs or in your hotel room if it is searched.

It also warns about the use of USB thumb drives in China, saying they may have malware installed on them, and advises travellers to change all passwords immediately on their return home.

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