If you’re lucky enough to be traveling to China for the 2008 Summer Olympics, you should think carefully about the security and safety of your personal belongings, as well as your information. Travelers should be aware that as in any large metropolitan area, any computing devices (such as smart phones, PDAs, and laptops) are at a high risk of theft. Additionally, the United States State Department has advised the following about travel to China:
Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms, including computers, may be searched without the consent or knowledge of the traveler. Foreign government officials, journalists, and business people with access to advanced proprietary technology are particularly likely to be under surveillance.
Therefore, we recommend the following approach for 2008 Olympics Visitors in order to keep their information and belongings safe:
- If at all possible, leave your computing devices home. It will eliminate potential travel hassles, and alleviate the need to keep tabs on your things while you are out and about. Enjoy the Olympic Games, and take a vacation from your email.
- If you bring a computing device, keep it with you at all times. If you cannot bring the device with you, inquire at your hotel about a safe, or other secure storage area. Hotel rooms and rental cars are prime places for theft to occur in China.
- Use file or disk encryption. Products such as TrueCrypt or SecureDoc, or operating system capabilities such as Encrypting File System or BitLocker can keep your information safe even if your device is stolen.
- If you must write down passwords, secure them. If you keep a post-it note with passwords on the lid of your notebook, the criminal may be able to use this information to get further access to the information in your machine or your networks.
- Keep your identification documents safe. Keep passports and other identification documents safe from pick pockets. The State department recommends travelers make photocopies of their passport bio-data pages and Chinese visas and to keep these in a separate, secure location in case of passport theft.
We hope visitors to Beijing find this information useful, and stay safe during their visit to the 2008 Olympic Summer Games!