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Chinese Woman Cuffed at Mar-a-Lago With Malware on USB

A Chinese woman is in police custody after being arrested by Secret Service agents in the Mar-a-Lago resort carrying a thumb drive containing malware.

A criminal complaint alleges 32-year-old Yujing Zhang tricked security staff into letting her enter the resort, where President Trump was staying at the time, by pretending not to understand English.

She subsequently entered a restricted area where she was stopped again at the main reception when it turned out the event she was there to attend — hosted by the United Nations Chinese American Association — didn’t exist.

After being arrested by Secret Service agents the woman told them she had been instructed by a friend known as "Charles" whom she met on WeChat to travel from Shanghai to Palm Beach to attend the UN event and speak to a member of the president's family about Chinese-American economic relations.

It emerged on searching her that the woman carried two Chinese passports and four mobile phones, a laptop, an external hard drive and a thumb drive containing unspecified malware.

According to reports, it also turned out during her interrogation that the woman spoke English fluently, and became “verbally aggressive” with her interviewers as the probe continued.

Matt Walmsley, EMEA Director at Vectra, argued the case shows why many organizations are aligning physical with cybersecurity.

“With the advent of BYOD, everyone learned that dangerous threats can be ‘walked in’ past cybersecurity controls, whether the threats are on a laptop or a USB thumb drive. As a result, it has become important to detect BYOD threats and accelerate the related incident response,” he said.

“Organizations that have aligned physical security teams who have human intelligence with cybersecurity teams who have digital intelligence, have empowered their security operations teams to respond quickly, regardless of the source of the initial threat warning.”

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