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Love Bugs

The Nov 11 WSJ reports on the scare tactics of security
consultants in the U.S. and by their co-conspiring
counterparts -- spies -- abroad:

Richard Heffernan, an information-security specialist for
30 years, said his clients sometimes return to their
hotel rooms to find their belongings ransacked,
especially in Europe. Some European companies will pay as
much as $10,000 for the laptop of a Fortune 500
executive, he adds.

Watch out for tiny surveillance tools. In 1992, the
Canadian government reportedly warned businessmen that
the French intelligence service was bugging airline seats
and using undercover agents as flight attendants.
Penlight cameras placed above airline seats can make
readable photos of laptop screens.

Spies on planes can overhear conversations from several
seats away. Look for them in business suits with plenty
of luggage, says security consultant Kevin Coffey. "These
guys fit in."

Another consultant estimates that 45% of bugs are on fax
machines, and one group of U.S. executives inadverdently
gave their secrets to the competition by using the fax
machine at Moscow's upscale Metropol Hotel, which is
staffed with former FBI and KGB operatives.

If you are carrying extremely sensitive information, be
especially paranoid.

All this may be too much for some companies, who say they
don't have time to evade possible spies. Rather than take
the trouble, some companies end up postponing business
plans aborad, saying, "Forget it. We'll come back in a
few years."

That's what they said at the office, now listen to the bug
up Gigi's.