Redditor claims Chinese border guards installed malware on his phone

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Would not be surprised whatsoever lol. Doesn’t China have key disclosure laws?

I knew there was a reason i decided not to do the layover in China for my flight to Japan


Standard corporate procedure (for companies with good security) is just to destroy any device that has been to China on a business trip.


Yep, my first thought was “that one’s bound for the trash.” Although on second thought maybe he can donate it as a research subject to Citizenlab or another non-profit working to thwart authoritarian scumbaggery like this.


I kind of wonder if this is even news. Really?


When visiting China just adopt the same procedures one takes when visiting DEFCON or Blackhat in Vegas. Don’t take your personal electronics, bring burner phones and other electronics you don’t intend to keep using after the trip.


It’s crazy that this was even possible. I recently switched from iOS to Android to get out of Apple’s ecosystem, for awhile at least. I love most things about my Samsung S9+, but it’s a bit crazy that there’s no password necessary to install apps. Googling around I see that there’s 3rd party utilities that will do it, but if for example if it asked for the lockscreen password to install apps these border guards wouldn’t be able to install anything without anyone’s knowledge.

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Could this be done to an iPhone?

If they require you to turn over the passcode and install malware at a border crossing? Yep, that’s why I mentioned “key disclosure laws”.


A passcode is one thing, and could be used to see what you’re doing, read emails and things like that. Which is reprehensible, but does that law also require you to give the sudo password (App Store) so they can install apps?

They don’t need your permission lol. They can jailbreak the phone, install the software, and reboot it.

How? Even when it was possible to jailbreak iPhones, you needed the lockscreen password.

Exploits lol. The US Govt created a market for these to forcibly unlock phones. Look up the FBI San Bernadino Case. They forcibly unlocked the terrorists phones. You don’t think the Chinese Government can do the same?


So in your mind it makes sense for these border guards to have an exploit that’s currently worth upwards of $1,000,000, and in the process alerting Apple to it’s existence, which would make it worthless within a week or so?

And on a minor note, that’s not jailbreaking, it’s just unlocking the phone.

You have to unlock the phone to jailbreak it, you then install persistent software. They can detain you at a border crossing legally lol if you refuse.

If you refuse and you’re detained and the Chinese government is interested enough, they can break into the phone with an exploit. The communist party doesn’t care about money. They also have an entire team of hackers at their disposal.

Sure they do. But it’s irrelevant, because the existence of these “exploits” depends on them being kept secret. But I hope you’re right that they’re stupid enough to use these at a run of the mill border crossing, since whatever secrets they have won’t last long if they do.

And I also hope you’re right that a jailbreak for iOS exists! I’d consider switching back from Android if that becomes public.


Governments having “teams” of hackers is barely a sufficient description of the sort of hacking resources they have access to. The U.S. isn’t the only country with something akin to the NSA. Basically the little folk like us are fucked unless we give up tech entirely.

1 Like <-- used that on more than one occasion to jailbreak devices.

So same as for visiting the US then