A career in journalism can be unsafe regardless of where you are in the world. There are plenty of reasons as to why journalists may want to educate themselves on cybersecurity. Your interviews and investigative stories may be of interest to nation-state actors, private entities, and other parties. It would be best if you made sure that key information isn’t leaked or stolen from your device. Here are key reasons why journalists need to prioritize cybersecurity.
- Protect Your Identity. As a journalist, you may need to protect your identity from authorities who might be trying to kill a story when working on an investigative piece. Additionally, journalists working in countries with authoritarian or corrupt governments may want to protect themselves from retaliation.
- Protect Your Sources. Journalists need to use the necessary security tools to protect their sources from state agencies and other threat actors. Government agencies in some parts of the world have been known to force journalists to reveal their sources under penalty of law.
- Prevent Data Breaches. The prevalence of smart devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones has made journalism a risky career option. These devices can be hacked or infected with spyware and other malware.
So, how can journalists protect their stories, identities, and, more importantly, their sources? By making cybersecurity a priority. Here are key cybersecurity tools that every journalist should be using.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) adds privacy and security to an internet connection in a private or public network, making sure that you remain anonymous in your online activities. A VPN service will encrypt your connection and redirect your internet traffic through a network of secure servers in different parts of the world. As a journalist, maintaining anonymity and safeguarding your online activities is crucial, and downloading a simple and reliable VPN can help you with that.
Signal Messaging App
Created by Open Whisper Systems, Signal is one of the most secure messaging apps available today. As a journalist, you will be sending text messages and making voice calls a lot in the course of your career. Therefore, you want to make sure that all your communications are protected with end-to-end encryption to prevent state agencies, private entities, and cybercriminals from accessing your messages and calls. Signal ensures that your voice calls and text messages are secure.
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a popular web browser that routes your internet traffic through a series of servers on the Tor Network. The Tor browser protects your internet traffic from anyone who may be interested in keeping tabs on your online activity. The Tor browser allows you to access parts of the internet that are not indexed by Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other conventional web search engines.
Journalism can be a dangerous career. Journalists need to take extra cybersecurity precautions to protect themselves to be effective at their jobs as the government and industry watchdog. There’s a vast array of cybersecurity tools that allow journalists to work ‘off the grid,’ communicate with their sources, securely, and prevent data leaks.