Russia Gave Out Great G20 Swag, Er, Malware: Reports
USB sticks, cables in gift bags were spy tools, say 2 papers
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2013 7:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – Amid the uproar over NSA spying come reports that Russia gave G20 delegates at last month's summit an unexpected surprise in their gift bag: malware. That's according to two Italian newspapers, which report that among the swag handed out to guests were USB sticks and cellphone recharging cables that were actually surveillance tools. "They were Trojan horses designed to obtain information from computers and cellphones," La Stampa reported, per the LA Times. The papers say the true nature of the gadgets was discovered after the president of the European Council ordered an investigation into them.

The Telegraph reports that David Cameron, at least, did not receive one of the covert spy tools. "My understanding is that the prime minister didn't receive a USB drive because I think they were a gift for delegates, not for leaders," his spokesman says. But Russia outright denies the allegations, with a spokesman for Vladimir Putin calling them "a clear attempt to divert attention from a problem that really exists: the US' spying, which is now a subject of discussion among European capitals and Washington," the Guardian reports.

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Oct 30, 2013 8:21 PM CDT
Thumb drives generally have deep code inserted in factories in Asia to allow hackers in China, N. Korea, and other countries to spy on your computer. They could simply gather info on you or actually initiate a cyber attack if you are a company. This is why the NSA, CIA, FBI use memory sticks from their own manufacturer in Langly. They have a chip shop to make every component used in the sticks. USB drives are the preferred way that China gets industrial secrets out of the USA. They have sent in exchange students, interns, and employes to places like JPL, NASA, and Sandia Labs and in turn, those Chinese students and nationals simply walk out the front door with highly proprietary designs, software, and data. It has allowed China to pretty much get rid of the crappy Russia space hardware and replace it with designs by JPL, NASA, and Sandia.
Oct 30, 2013 7:29 PM CDT
Nice try Vladimir.
Oct 30, 2013 10:39 AM CDT
"They were Trojan horses designed to obtain information from computers and cellphones,"