Whether it’s a talk at a dinner for a group of Fortune 100 CIOs or a speech before the National Security Council of a U.S. allied government, one of the questions that I’m most frequently asked afterwards is “Jeff, how can I keep from being compromised when I travel overseas.” And of course they expect an easy answer in 30 seconds or less. After having written two editions of “Inside Cyber Warfare” (O’Reilly Media, 2009, 2011) and having given over 100 talks on the subject since 2008, I still struggled with the best way to answer it. The reality is that there’s no simple answer to that question if you want to do it justice. And there’s ample evidence that the most common advice given; i.e., don’t take your laptop or cell phone out of the country - is rarely complied with except by the most security conscious of government employees. The hard truth is that in a battle between security and convenience, convenience will always win.
I spent many hours working on the best way to answer that question. It eventually occured to me that attacks launched against high value targets are resource-intensive; meaning that they aren’t conducted - can’t be conducted - against everyone. Therefore an adversary most likely has a way to qualify targets of interest before commiting resources to compromise them. I decided to build my own system of qualifying targets (the Cyber Risk Index™) and then use that to provide appropriate security advice to traveling officials and executives. This ebook "A Traveler's Guide to Cyber Security" represents my best work to date on the question - what can I do to stay safe when traveling abroad. I consider it a work in progress and welcome your feedback.
This 40 page ebook provides detailed guidance on how to determine your personal CRI; provides information on how Russian and Chinese intelligence services can legally intercept your data and interact with you personally; and provides a groundwork in basic cyber self defense."
I'd appreciate your help in spreading the word about this new resource at your organization and among your peers. It's a low cost, unique, and effective approach to help business travelers more fully engage with the security process by knowing their risk of compromise in any country in which they're doing business. It's available on Amazon for the Kindle and on Lulu.com for all other formats although Lulu does require that Adobe Digital Editions be installed on your computer (sorry about that). Hopefully it'll soon be available at iBookstore as well.