Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Incident: Laptop seizures, Sudan

The Sudanese government is reported to be seizing laptops entering the country as part of new security measures. Laptops are confiscated, inspected and then supposedly returned to the owner after one day. The government's rationale is to prevent pornography from entering the country. However, once someone has physical access to a computer, passwords, personnel information, financial records and other sensitive organization and personal information can be compromised (also keep in mind it's pretty easy to duplicate a hard drive for more detailed snooping at a later time).

Without knowing all of the details of the seizure program, here are some common sense suggestions if you're headed to Sudan with a laptop:
  • Make sure there's no porn present (remember, deleted files can be restored and you never know what may be kept in your browser cache - not knowing the extent or type of searches the Sudanese are performing, just be aware that rudimentary computer forensics programs can easily access and display all of this data).
  • Keep sensitive information on a separate USB thumb drive or a memory card.
  • Change any passwords (especially organization, banking and retail Web sites) as soon as possible. As a precaution, change passwords again after you leave the country and have access to the Internet over a trusted connection.
  • Use strong encryption to protect sensitive files on the laptop or external storage device (TrueCrypt is one of my personal favorites, since it's free, powerful and can provide elements of plausible deniability - which is essential in places where encrypted files might raise suspicions).
Any readers who've had a laptop seized in Sudan, feel free to share your experiences.


Anonymous Ezight said...

Plausible deniability=

Live linux on a CD

Puppy linux
Slax linux

NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!!!!!

You don't need a hard drive to surf and save from the web folks.

6:29 PM  

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