There are a lot of dire warnings about traveling to China with a smartphone and laptop. Examples:
- from Stanford University
- from Travel and Leisure magazine: “Within an hour of landing in China, there will be malware on your mobile device,” says Dave Anderson, a senior director at Voltage Security in Cupertino, Calif
- nytimes article that says download ExpressVPN and be happy
Is the situation truly riskier than in the U.S.? What special tools do attackers in China have that couldn’t be deployed at a Starbucks in Peoria?
I’m not worried about someone from the Chinese government reading all of my email. Any opinions that I have about China and the Chinese government are already published here on this blog (and they’re mostly wrong! In 2003, I predicted that the Chinese would be able to make and export a basic automobile for $2,000 to $3,000 (at most $4,200 in today’s mini-dollars). As of 2016, there was a $2,400 Chinese four-seat car, but it lacks A/C and other “basics”. Today there is a $9,000 Chinese made four-door electric car.)
I wouldn’t want someone transferring money out of my online banking accounts, using my credit cards, etc., however. Given two-factor authentication with text messages to my phone, can people truly do that without having control of my mobile number?
Update: Based on Denis’s comment below, I updated the “SIM PIN” on my iPhone away from the Verizon factory default. I hope that is what he meant by “Make sure your sim is locked.”