Media Covering Trump And Kim Jong-Un’s Meeting Were Given Free, Totally Trustworthy USB Fans
Nothing says "staying cool" like installing malware.
Today’s the day: right at this moment, Donald Trump is heading to sit down with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to talk nuclear weapons, US relations with North Korea, and (hopefully) avoiding world war.
It’s a hugely historic meeting, so naturally there are tonnes of journalists there to report on whatever goes down. While those journalists wait for the meeting to get underway, some have been killing time by tweeting inane shit like pictures of the goody bags they were given when they received official accreditation, inadvertently revealing a pretty concerning problem.
See, along with a water bottle and some pamphlets, the media goody bags contained a little USB-powered fan. Because nothing says “staying cool” like plugging an unknown USB into computers or phones connected to some of the world’s most powerful media outlets. What could possibly go wrong?
Media goody bag: Mini USB fan, hand-held fan with #TrumpKim on either side to blow around all the hot air…. and a fun guide to Sentosa. NB: that's not the delegations playing beach volleyball. pic.twitter.com/fbdKVzr0Cn
— Amanda Drury (@MandyCNBC) June 10, 2018
Unfortunately, the overlap between tech-savvy journalists and politics reporters who are finding the Singapore heat a bit much is not huge. More than a few journos at the event have tweeted delightedly about the fan, implying that they will — or perhaps already have — plugged it into their laptops. “Handy to stay cool while writing” was the response of one pretty prominent reporter.
Meanwhile, tech security Twitter is going absolutely nuts trying to warn everyone not to plug the fans in.
So, um, summit journalists. Do not plug this in. Do not keep it. Drop it in a public trash can or send it to your friendly neighborhood security researcher. Call any computer science department and donate it for a class exercise. I’d be glad to take one off your hands, btw. https://t.co/vz8xjUIjVz
— Barton Gellman (@bartongellman) June 11, 2018
— Rickey Gevers (@UID_) June 10, 2018
Journalists at #TrumpKimSummit got this USB fan.
— Cyrus Farivar (@cfarivar) June 11, 2018
LOL this "USB fan" probably has malware on it. https://t.co/7NlBScuqw9
— koush (@koush) June 11, 2018
No one knows at this point if the fan actually does have malware on it — there’s a good chance it really is just a USB-powered fan. Still, let this be a lesson to you: don’t plug unknown USBs into your computer unless you’re totally cool with the prospect of having your data stolen, being watched through your webcam, or the whole host of other things hackers can do with a dirty USB.
Especially if you’re a high-profile journalist covering an extraordinarily sensitive political event. Just a thought.
Halloween costume idea nobody will understand: Chinese intelligence agent dressed as a USB fan.
— Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) June 11, 2018