Woman illegally entered Mar-a-Lago with thumb drive full of malware, prosecutors say

Yujing Zhang has been charged with with making false statements toward federal law enforcement agents and unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds.
Mar a lago
A photo of Mar-A-Lago. A Chinese woman who illegally entered the grounds over the weekend was found to be carrying malware. (Getty)

A Chinese woman who briefly entered President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence last week had two Chinese passports and numerous electronic devices in her possession, including a thumb drive carrying malware, according to federal prosecutors.

Yujing Zhang, 32, has been charged with with making false statements toward federal law enforcement agents and unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds, according to court documents released Monday by the Southern District of Florida.

According to the criminal complaint, Zhang was detained on Saturday after initially telling Secret Service guards that she was there to attend an event held by the United Nations Chinese American Association. After a Mar-a-Lago receptionist determined that no such event was being held, Secret Service agents took her into custody.

Agents initially expressed confusion over whether she was related to a member of the beach club with the same last name. When she did not respond to questioning, agents believed it was due to a “language barrier” and allowed her access.


After Zhang was detained and it was determined she could understand English, she told agents her Chinese friend “Charles” told her to travel from Shanghai to Palm Beach, Florida to attempt to speak with a member of the President’s family about Chinese and American foreign economic relations.

Zhang was found with two Chinese passports, four cellular telephones, a laptop, an external hard drive and thumb drive. Agents tested each device, with a forensic test determining the thumb drive contained malware.

While Trump spent the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, there is no indication Zhang ever was in proximity of the president.

There has long been worries about the digital security of the resort, which Trump has owned since 1985. In 2017, ProPublica reported that Wi-Fi networks on the resort grounds lacked even basic security measures.

Zhang remains in custody until a scheduled hearing for next week.


You can read the full complaint below.

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Greg Otto

Written by Greg Otto

Greg Otto is Editor-in-Chief of CyberScoop, overseeing all editorial content for the website. Greg has led cybersecurity coverage that has won various awards, including accolades from the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Prior to joining Scoop News Group, Greg worked for the Washington Business Journal, U.S. News & World Report and WTOP Radio. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Temple University.

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