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Trump and Kim USB fan raises cyber-security alert
Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 13th Jun 2018

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USB fan and Kim Jong-Un CD

Image captionThe gift pack included a USB fan and a handheld fan illustrated with the face of the North Korean leader

Cyber-security experts have expressed surprise that journalists at the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore were given USB-powered fans.

Some warned reporters not to plug them in to their laptops, as USB devices can carry malware.

The fans were part of a gift bag including a branded water bottle and a local guidebook.

Temperatures reached 33C in Singapore during the meeting.

Dutch journalist Harald Doornbos tweeted a picture of the fan.

Skip Twitter post by @HaraldDoornbos

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Harald Doornbos✔@HaraldDoornbos

Replying to @HaraldDoornbos

13/ Handig. In de persmap voor de zit een mini usb fan. Handig om koel te blijven tijdens het schrijven. Het is hier in Singapore idd vrij heet. 33°C of zo. Maar haalt het niet bij Dubai, koning van de oven.

10:41 AM - Jun 10, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @HaraldDoornbos

The tweet reads: "Handy. In the press kit for the #KimTrumpSummit, there is a mini USB fan - convenient to stay cool while writing. It is pretty hot here in Singapore, 33C or so. But it does not reach Dubai, king of the oven."

But cyber-security expert Prof Alan Woodward, from Surrey University, said: "For years now, engineering people to plug in a USB stick you supplied has been a classic way of circumventing security measures to get your software on their machine.

"There's an adage in cyber-security: if you give someone physical access to your computer, it's no longer your computer. Use an unknown USB stick and you are doing just that."

The gift packs were assembled by the Communications Ministry in Singapore.

The gifts have no known link with North Korea. which has been blamed for a number of cyber-security incidents, including the release of the Wannacry ransomware that struck the NHS in 2017.

The state has always denied responsibility for the attack.

Skip Twitter post by @bartongellman

Barton Gellman✔@bartongellman

Replying to @bartongellman

Maybe the fan is just a fan. Bad bet, though. I should probably add: if you did plug it in you’re human. Malware authors abuse the instinct to trust. Until someone competent has a look, I recommend you power down your machine if you can and change passwords with a clean device. https://twitter.com/bartongellman/status/1006288000106549248 …

12:10 AM - Jun 12, 2018

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Source: bbc.co.uk

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