News
4/3/2008
08:16 PM
Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney
Commentary
50%
50%

A Federal Indictment, That's What

Stop me if you've heard this one: What do you get if you try to board a flight to China while carrying confidential documents, a thumb drive, four external hard drives, 29 recordable CDs, a videotape, and $30,000 in cash?

Stop me if you've heard this one: What do you get if you try to board a flight to China while carrying confidential documents, a thumb drive, four external hard drives, 29 recordable CDs, a videotape, and $30,000 in cash?You can read more about this audacious, if abortive, data transfer here. The trade secrets this Chinese-American was carrying had an estimated worth of $600 million.

And the FBI claims that the search that led to these discoveries and subsequent arrest was "random." But she couldn't have been more obvious if she'd written "Data Thief" across her forehead. Or smuggler, or whatever it was she was actually doing.

Now, I'm the last person to lecture anyone on discretion. But might that kind of walking data center draw attention anywhere, like an airport, much less the international terminal of the world's busiest?

This sounds like a perfect job for FedEx or DHL. No TSA muss, no FBI fuss. But I suppose there was the possibility of interception or third-party scrutiny, or invocation of some untested clause in the Patriot Act that makes it illegal to ship any data volumes larger than the Library of Congress equivalent outside our borders.

E-mailing's out, if you wanted to avoid an electronic trail or potential scrutiny; and putting it in checked luggage wasn't an option. I've collected two little notices from TSA in the last 18 months, alerting me they had searched my checked baggage. No, I wasn't carrying hard drives.

The companies whose trade secrets were involved were not named. Motorola's an obvious possibility with its nearby Schaumburg, Ill., headquarters. But companies in the vicinity of the Windy City are pretty mum about this.

Where this all goes remains to be seen, and as the FBI notes, an indictment is not evidence of guilt -- just a lack of discretion, mixed with some incredibly bad luck or judgment.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
Enterprises today have a wide range of third-party options to help improve their defenses, including MSSPs, auditing and penetration testing, and DDoS protection. But are there situations in which a service provider might actually increase risk?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8511
Published: 2014-12-27
Buffer overflow in an ActiveX control in Atx45.ocx in Schneider Electric ProClima before 6.1.7 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-8512. NOTE: this may be clarified later based on details provided by researchers.

CVE-2014-8512
Published: 2014-12-27
Buffer overflow in an ActiveX control in Atx45.ocx in Schneider Electric ProClima before 6.1.7 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-8511. NOTE: this may be clarified later based on details provided by researchers.

CVE-2014-8513
Published: 2014-12-27
Buffer overflow in an ActiveX control in MDraw30.ocx in Schneider Electric ProClima before 6.1.7 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-8514 and CVE-2014-9188. NOTE: this may be clarified later based on details provided by ...

CVE-2014-8514
Published: 2014-12-27
Buffer overflow in an ActiveX control in MDraw30.ocx in Schneider Electric ProClima before 6.1.7 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-8513 and CVE-2014-9188. NOTE: this may be clarified later based on details provided by ...

CVE-2014-9188
Published: 2014-12-27
Buffer overflow in an ActiveX control in MDraw30.ocx in Schneider Electric ProClima before 6.1.7 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-8513 and CVE-2014-8514. NOTE: this may be clarified later based on details provided by ...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.