A Secret Service agent took a USB drive infected with malware from a Chinese woman who was arrested at Mar-a-Lago and inserted it into his laptop

Mar-a-Lago

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump waits for the arrival of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for talks at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida on April 17, 2018.

  • A US Secret Service agent inserted a USB drive infected with "malicious malware" into his laptop after the hardware was confiscated from a Chinese woman who was arrested late last month at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. 
  • The agent testified in court on Monday that the thumb-drive began installing files in a "very out-of-the-ordinary" way and he quickly stopped his analysis of it. 
  • Prosecutors say that the woman, Yujing Zhang, was carrying a USB drive with "malicious malware" on it, four mobile phones, a laptop, and a hard drive when she was arrested while attempting to gain entry to Trump's Palm Beach resort on March 30. 
  • Cybersecurity experts criticized the agent's move on Monday, suggesting the USB drive could have transferred a dangerous virus onto a government device.
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A US Secret Service agent inserted a USB drive infected with "malicious malware" into his laptop after the hardware was confiscated from a Chinese woman who was arrested late last month after attempting to gain entry to President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

Agent Samuel Ivanovich testified in court on Monday that he put the thumb drive into his own computer and it began installing files in a "very out-of-the-ordinary" way. He quickly stopped his analysis of the drive, the Miami Herald reported.Advertisement

The woman, Yujing Zhang, was found carrying a USB drive with "malicious malware" on it, four mobile phones, a laptop, and a hard drive when she was arrested at Trump's Palm Beach resort, law enforcement said. It's still unclear what kind of malware Zhang had on her USB drive. 

Read more: The Chinese woman who was arrested after gaining access to Trump's Mar-A-Lago allegedly had a hidden camera detector in her hotel room

In a search of Zhang's hotel room, law enforcement also said they found a signal detector used to discover hidden cameras, $8,000 in cash, nine USB drives, and five SIM cards.
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested last Friday that Zhang may be a Chinese spy.

Cybersecurity experts were critical of Ivanovich's move, suggesting that the USB drive could have transferred a dangerous virus onto a government device. "As a taxpayer, I'm very concerned about where Agent Ivanovich's laptop is and where it's been since he plugged a malicious USB into it. If this was the Secret Service quick reaction playbook, perhaps Zhang planned to get caught all along (not joking)," tweeted Jake Williams, a cybersecurity expert and former National Security Agency hacker. Advertisement

Eric Geller, a cybersecurity reporter at Politico tweeted, "Very disturbing that Secret Service agents aren't better trained than this."

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