Beware Accepting Free Memory Sticks and Cameras At Trade Fairs, Says MI5

Devices May Contain Malware Meant For Business Espionage

1 min read
Beware Accepting Free Memory Sticks and Cameras At Trade Fairs, Says MI5

A story in yesterday's London Sunday Times that will not amuse the Chinese government says that the UK security service MI5 is claiming that undercover intelligence officers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Ministry of Public Security have approached UK businessmen at trade fairs and exhibitions with the offer of "lavish gifts" such as cameras and not so lavish gifts such as memory sticks that contain malware meant to remotely access their computers.

The Times says that the information is in a 14-page MI5 document it has seen. According to the Times, the document states that the Chinese government "represents one of the most significant espionage threats to the UK," and that, "Any UK company might be at risk if it holds information which would benefit the Chinese."

The Times also says that the Chinese are also targeting UK businessmen the good old fashion way as well - i.e., through offers of sex and money.

Accepting free memory sticks at trade fairs - international or otherwise - is pretty dumb, and I am surprised that companies at trade fairs even offer them any more because of the obvious risk. You may recall that a few years ago, thumb drives with malicious code were found lying around the US Department of Justice just waiting for some curious person to plug them into the DOJ's network.

I suppose that some people just can't pass up something that is "free."

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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