Intelligence: That Cat Looks Suspicious


May 9, 2012: American counter-intelligence agencies have been scrambling to deal with new techniques and technologies China is using to get stolen secret data back to China. The new angle is to exploit the way data is stored on electronic storage devices (memory cards, thumb drives, hard drives, and rewritable DVDs). The simplest, and oldest, deception is to delete files containing stolen secrets, then when you get to, say, China, you use undelete software to revive the erased files. You can further secure the secret files by encrypting them before deleting them. These two methods can easily be uncovered by counter-intelligence agents, so the methods have become more complex. Using custom made hardware or software files can be hidden on a storage device. Manufacturers of operating systems and storage devices have to be enlisted to develop techniques for quickly detecting such well hidden files.

Another deception method involves the use of cloud and email-system storage, although this is considered risky because counter-intelligence agencies can more easily get access to these systems and search for stolen tech files. Spies prefer to use human couriers, although sometimes data can be hidden in animals being shipped internationally. The lesson here is that there are many ways to hide data and move it internationally and counter-intelligence agencies will usually be one step behind the top spies in this area.




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