Dangers on business trips to China and the USA

von Das Team der aigner business solutions GmbH

Do your employees also travel to China or the USA? What do you have to consider from the point of view of data protection and IT security? As more and more news portals are reporting, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is again advising caution when using mobile devices and may even recommend Destroying the device using “disposable cell phones” after the trip is over. In fact, there is an increased risk of communication with laptops and mobile phones in the countries mentioned.

In this article you will find out how to act correctly in the event of a business trip, what you should consider when preparing for your travel and during your stay, and what we recommend.

Due to the increasing and sometimes aggressive danger of espionage, which is a major risk, especially when traveling to China, you should be particularly careful when sending your managers or sales representatives to China in particular. This risk can be contained by taking safety precautions before departure, such as only procuring and using travel laptops or a “disposable cell phone” (prepaid) for these trips. These should then only be used personally and should never be given out of hand.

All data on the devices, carried along and saved (especially contacts) should be limited to what is necessary. After returning from China, it is important to carry out a thorough virus check or, better still, reinstall the devices, i.e. resetting to factory settings on cell phones or reinstalling laptops.

It has recently been known that z. B. in a Chinese province, a monitoring app is installed on the smartphones of travelers. The app automatically checks the devices for unwanted or suspicious content, and it also enables data to be leaked.

A significant risk arises e.g. B. also by dialing into local WLAN networks in China. The monitoring of telecommunications, personal data and mobile data traffic is the order of the day in China. This can e.g. B. already happen when staying in a hotel when dialing into the hotel WLAN.

Even before leaving for China, considerably more and very precise information has recently been asked for when applying for a visa. A detailed query of information enables the Chinese security authorities and intelligence services to track down the travelers of interest from among the masses of applicants. Here, too, caution is required as to which information is transmitted with the form. It is advisable to provide information such. B. Especially with regard to current and previous employment relationships and also superiors, only to be filled in very abstractly.

If you consider the “conditions” described above, it is not surprising that parts of the German population are not exactly enthusiastic about the participation of the Chinese telecommunications supplier HUAWEI in setting up the high-speed 5G mobile network in Germany, because they are not the “Trojan horse” Want to bring land. The fear of complete surveillance and espionage by China is too great. Germany has not yet made a final decision here.


Careful preparation for trips to China should always be given. Incidentally, we do not recommend that you destroy cell phones immediately, but rather reset the cell phones at least to the factory settings when you return from trips (e.g. by sales representatives from China) – the same also applies to trips to the USA.

If you have any questions on this topic or if you need advice, please contact our IT security contact:
Thomas Greiner | thomas.greiner@aigner-business-solutions.com | Tel: 08505-91927-0

Source: Handelsblatt

Das Team der aigner business solutions GmbH

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Unser Team besteht aus erfahrenen Juristen, Webspezialisten, IT-Experten, zertifizierten Datenschutz- und Informationssicherheitsbeauftragten. Mit unserer Erfahrung, Expertise und erprobten Verfahren, helfen wir Unternehmen, praxisnahe Lösungen im Bereich Datenschutz und Informationssicherheit zu finden. So helfen wir beispielsweise bei der Umsetzung der DSGVO oder der Einführung von Informationssicherheitsmanagementsystemen (ISMS).