Chinese National Carries Malware Into Mar-a-Lago

A Chinese woman arrested for entering the grounds of Mar-a-Lago under false pretenses was carrying electronic equipment holding malware.



Chinese national Yujing Zhang was arrested for breaching the perimeter at the Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida and telling the US Secret Service she was there to attend a nonexistent event. While the details of her presence on the grounds while President Donald Trump was also there are somewhat murky, evidence suggests her arrest might be considered an antimalware win.

According to reports, when Zhang was stopped, she was carrying four mobile phones, one laptop computer, an external hard drive, and a thumb drive found to be housing "malicious software." "With the advent of BYOD, everyone learned that dangerous threats can be 'walked in' past cybersecurity controls whether the threats are on a laptop or a USB thumb drive," says Matt Walmsley, EMEA director at Vectra.

According to Zhang's statement to the Secret Service, she was asked by a friend named "Charles" to travel from Shanghai to Palm Beach, Florida, to talk with a member of the president's family about Chinese-American relations. She told officers that she had only spoken with Charles through WeChat, a messaging app popular in China.

"If someone can talk their way into Mar-a-Lago, then no location is really secure," says David Ginsburg, vice president of marketing at Cavirin. Reports of the incident have noted that, while the "United Nations Friendship Event" Zhang claimed to be visiting did not exist, an "International Leaders Elite Forum" produced by Li "Cindy" Yang had been scheduled but cancelled after press coverage of an incident that saw New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution at a massage parlor once owned by Yang, a charge for which Kraft has pleaded not guilty.

Zhang, still in custody as of press time, is charged with making false statements to a federal officer and entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds.

Read more here.

This article was updated to correct a reference to Robert Kraft.

 

 

 

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Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

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