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Thursday, August 14, 2008      

Chinese intel targeting visitors' wireless devices

China is engaged in major intelligence efforts to steal secrets and technology, a senior U.S. government counterintelligence warned last week.

National Counterintelligence Executive Joel F. Brenner, the government’s most senior counterspy coordinator, told CBS News on August 7 that the Chinese are aggressively stealing wireless data from foreigners visiting that country.

“Somebody with a wireless device in China should expect it to be compromised while he's there,” Brenner warned.

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“The public security services in China can turn your telephone on and activate its microphone when you think it's off,” he said. Chinese electronic intelligence gatherers also can access hand-held devices like BlackBerrys, he added.

The interview followed a formal warning issued by the office of the Director of National Intelligence for travelers to Beijing to be on alert for Chinese intelligence gathering.

“We are giving advice based on a pattern that is relentless and ongoing of what we see as information theft,” Brenner said.

Other U.S. officials said China also uses sexual entrapment to blackmail or steal government and commercial secrets from travelers to China.

Recently, an aide to the British prime minister was caught in a “honey trap” sexual encounter that resulted in the loss of the aide’s BlackBerry.

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