UK businessmen have been warned by the British security service against using “gifts” such as memory sticks or cameras given to them when attending exhibitions or doing business in China.
Times Online reports that the reason for this warning is that Trojans and other malware that makes it possible for the Chinese to gain backdoor remote access to networks has been found in some of them.
Adding to this threat the pervasive hacking attacks against the national and business networks, it is no wonder that the UK’s secret service considers the Chinese government one of the biggest espionage threats to the UK.
According to a leaked MI5 report, China has been mounting orchestrated attacks against energy, defense, manufacturing and communications companies all over the UK, and they didn’t stop there – law and PR firms were also targeted.
In the past, the Chinese have been known to favor blackmail as a method of gathering intelligence. The basis of blackmail was often of a sexual nature or some illegal activity the person is involved with. Cultivating business relationships to get information is also a big favorite.
UK businessmen that are traveling to China are also warned that there is a high probability that their hotel room is likely to be bugged and searched while they’re out.
Distinguishing between industrial espionage and the one employed to further national interests is rather difficult when it comes to the Chinese, but it’s safe to say that both are unwelcome. China, of course, denies every such claim, but MI5 warns: “Any UK company might be at risk if it holds information which would benefit the Chinese.”