The Superphone

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It seems that one of Gordon Brown’s aides was caught in a “honeytrap” and let a Chinese spy steal his Blackberry. Fair enough. But this doesn’t have the ring of truth to it at all:

Experts say that even if the aide’s device did not contain anything top secret, it might enable a hostile intelligence service to hack into the Downing Street server, potentially gaining access to No 10’s e-mail traffic and text messages.

Can’t the owner just report the phone stolen and have the service canceled? And why would a Blackberry let you do that anyway? This particular case aside, it seems to me more broadly that a certain set of people is taking advantage of low levels of tech literacy among certain elements of the western security services to make a lot of money by hyping up fake cybersecurity problems. It’s true that Chinese encryption-breaking skills play an important role in Neuromancer but that doesn’t make this a real problem.