Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

Notes from China - part 1

Notes from China - part 1

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So I've now been back from China for a few days now.  I thought that my readers might be interested in a bizarre story that occurred while I was there.  This is loosely based on a true story, some (ie, most) parts have been enhanced/created for dramatic flair.

As many of us in the antispam world believe, China can be a haven for spammers.  While the United States is still the largest originating source of spam -- by far -- China is the place that hosts the most spam sites.  If you want bullet proof hosting (that is, a hosting service provider that will ignore complaints), China is the place you want to be.

I arrived in Beijing on October 9.  If you've never been to China, or the far east for that matter, let me just say that the airports are quite efficient.  I was able to clear customs and pick up my luggage fairly easily, I'd say that it was in less than 20 minutes.  I made my way down through the airport, reading all of the English on the signs and flagged down a taxi.  I showed him the place I wanted to go and headed down to my hotel.

At the time I didn't notice it, but going back through my memory I probably should have paid more attention to it.  I was busy looking at all the sights of Beijing but out of the corner of my eye, I half-heartedly noticed that there was a black car following us.  I didn't really get a good look because I didn't think anything of it, but I clearly recall a car with dark, tinted windows passing along side of us a few times.  I'm no private investigator but I have seen plenty of movies, and I should have noticed this car was clearly following us.  In my defense, why would I notice that?  I am just a regular Joe (Joe the Plumber?) and why would anyone wish to follow me?

Anyhow, this car was clearly following us now that I think about it.  It drove up alongside us twice and when I turned my head to look at it, it would always fall back into traffic and follow a few cars behind us.  We got to my hotel and I exited the taxi, paying him 50 yuan for the taxi ride (about $7.50 US).  I brought my things into my hotel and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the car with the dark, tinted windows drive off.  I checked into my room and proceeded to walk down and explore the streets of Beijing. 

Little did I know that a couple of days later I would be in for the fight of my life.

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