Official spyware in computers bought in China?

Hi

I shall shortly be visiting China to attend a friend's wedding.

If prices for laptops and/or netbooks are good I'd like to buy.

Is it true that computers bought in China contain little dragons that monitor or restrict usage?

To ensure I have only standard Windows stuff that I want & need and don't bring anything totalitarian back to Europe is it enough to reformat and reinstall the OS ( probably both Windows 7 / XP)?
Is Windows bought in China secure or should I buy Win 7 Universal in India before I go?
( Assuming that Windows in India is secure...)
memyselfiAsked:
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TolomirAdministratorCommented:
the only thing I have heard of was a software called green dam but that software was not installed by default, there was too much criticism.
So if you buy a brand product with official papers you should be good to go. Also ask for world-wide service-support.

Tolomir
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bdsuserCommented:
I can't answer your question, but something you need to think about.  Many countries have laws against exporting technology out of the country.  Even simple things like a GPS can get you in trouble.  You also may find that there are laws against buying technologies from other countries.  
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phototropicCommented:
"...Is it true that computers bought in China contain little dragons that monitor or restrict usage?..."

Er...little dragons???

If by this you mean some sort of software, formatting your hdd will get rid of anything like that. I would imagine that any pc bought in China will be running a Chinese language os which you will want to change anyway.

As in the above post, you may find that export duty on any laptop which you try to take out of the country will make the cost prohibitive.

And again...little dragons?!?!?!?!?!?
 

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memyselfiAuthor Commented:
@bdsuser: hmm good point. I hadn't thought of that. If I buy a Lenovo laptop in China and bring it back to Europe I'll be liable to pay an import tax. Fair enough.

Exporting tech out of the country?  This would not have ocurred to me. What about my GPS enabled mobile phone that I come into the country with? And my laptop and netbook?  Presumably we can leave with tech we bring  in.
Still, good point. I shall make enquiries at the visa office.

@phototropic: Trojans are horses, right? The Chinese equivalent are dragons. Obviously.
Are you sure that such things would be only s/w based and not h/w based? Are u familiar with actual specs of Chinese computers or are u making a resonable guess?
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phototropicCommented:
Trojan Horse:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_horse_(computing)

"...A Trojan horse, or Trojan, is software that appears to perform a desirable function for the user prior to run or install, but (perhaps in addition to the expected function) steals information or harms the system..."

There is such a thing as a Hardware Trojan Horse (HTH):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_Trojan_(computing)

These typically do not "...monitor or restrict usage..."  Rather they attempt to bypass or disable the security and "leak confidential information by radio emission."  In what way would it benefit the Chinese government to access information from random laptops?

"... Are u familiar with actual specs of Chinese computers..."   No, because I do not live in China.  But I am familiar with the spec of Lenovo laptops - "... If I buy a Lenovo laptop in China and bring it back to Europe..."

So, do I think the Chinese government would make hardware modifications to all the Lenovo laptops on sale, in such a way that information can be accessed from each one randomly?  No, I do not.

Thus, to answer your question:  "...is it enough to reformat and reinstall the OS ( probably both Windows 7 / XP)?..."   You will have to do that anyway, unless you understand Chinese well enough to understand a Chinese os.

You are apparently concerned "...To ensure I have only standard Windows stuff that I want & need and don't bring anything totalitarian back to Europe..."
 
Unless you are engaged in some sort of activity that will mark you out for special treatment by the Chinese authorities, I think you should be OK!!!
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
the environment is very computer hostile spyware/malware capital of the world. All machines there have a government approved firewall/filter that is mandatory to be used (many people get around this)  by win7 universal do you really mean win7 ultimate?

buy a machine there.. also get all the driver you will need and the english language pack.. and you should be ok.
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TolomirAdministratorCommented:
Perfect question for this

http://blog.jitbit.com/2011/04/chinese-magic-drive.html

The device looks pretty convincing - lots of tech labels and stuff... The Chinese salesman even saved something to the drive to demonstrate that it "works" in the store.

---

I would never buy hardware without support from vendor, manufacturer. At least no hardware I have to work with and cannot be replaced easily...

Tolomir
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phototropicCommented:
"... If I buy a Lenovo laptop in China and bring it back to Europe..."  I believe you would still receive product support from Lenovo.

The question originally asked was:

 "...Is it true that computers bought in China contain little dragons that monitor or restrict usage?..."

Surely the answer to this is no.   If it were true, we would have heard about it by now...

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SeaSenorCommented:
i'd have to say that you would really need to save some money to make it worth all that trouble.....but only you can make that call.
If you buy from your own country, you wouldn't have to reinstall the OS, worry about dragons, and you could support your own country's economy (a little anyway)  

:)

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memyselfiAuthor Commented:
Sorry...yes I meant Windows 7 Ultimate. I must have got the wrong term off the interwebs.

In summary, check that there are no export restrictions on anything I buy.
I consider this unlikely for an ordinary laptop but no harm checking.

Buying a global brand with worldwide support should not have risk of trojan s/w.

Price difference with Europe may not be significant but if I need it while I'm in China then I need it.
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TolomirAdministratorCommented:
it might be even useful to use that computer already in china, once to check if it works and to avoid customs duties at the airport for new shrink warped electronic devices...
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SeaSenorCommented:
I was just suggesting taking your own computer, whether you have one, or purchase one now and take with you, rather than worry about the issues you mentioned.
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memyselfiAuthor Commented:
I have a dell laptop with no battery and the cost of a replacement battery is about half the cost of a new laptop. Also a samsung netbook which is gradually falling apart.

 I am currently in India and am assuming that I'll get a better deal in China as I'm going there.

If I were back in Europe I'd probably buy good condition 2nd hand replacements for my current workhorses and use the old ones as a source of spares.

If I buy a computer it will certainly be used there.
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TolomirAdministratorCommented:
Alright, give it a shot!

Maybe there are people at the wedding, that can tell you about a reliable computer dealer.
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memyselfiAuthor Commented:
sorry for delay closing
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