Improving your Cybersecurity as a Journalist

Cybersecurity can be described as a process by which we improve the safety of information on our devices. The internet is a very useful tool that has disrupted several sectors of various economies in the world. However, despite the increased convenience the World Wide Web introduces, it comes with its own risks. These risks include cybercriminals that work around the clock, attempting to find new ways to breach security on our devices.

Why Your Devices need to be Secure

As a journalist, you need to ensure the information you get is totally secure. You could get data that could possibly cause outrage against a certain organization, the government, or individuals. In cases like this, the source that leaked the information would want his/her identity hidden.

If your level of cybersecurity is low and you don’t use a VPN, your device could be breached and the informant’s identity revealed to malicious individuals. Once this happens, the whistleblower could be finished off, leaving a big dent on your career.

Methods through which your cybersecurity could be breached

  1. Phishing

Phishing is the theft of login details by a hacker. The process of phishing starts from a received mail by a hacker. The hacker would create a sense of urgency in the mail, prompting you to log in to the account you use to communicate with your sources with a link sent.

When opened, the link would lead to a cloned log-in page. Immediately you fix in your login details on the phishing page, it would get sent to the criminal.

  • Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi connections are frequently hacked by cybercriminals to facilitate spying on sensitive data of other individuals connected to the network. It wouldn’t matter if the Wi-Fi requires a password before login. It would be hacked all the same.

  • Unsafe Browsers and Tools

Virtually all communication is monitored on web browsers and the tools used to receive and send files and text. Browsers with a low level of security like Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Opera could lead to your data being tracked.

Tools you can use to protect your information

  1. 1.       VPN

A VPN, also known as a Virtual Private Network, is a tool that creates a tunnel to protect the information sent between you and the network or website you’re linked to. It serves as a protective barrier, making certain your information is kept safe from malicious individuals and even your internet service provider.

With a VPN, you can connect to public Wi-Fi with full security. Any hacker connected on the network attempting to view your online activity would see undecipherable characters.

  • Encrypted Applications

To further protect your communication with sources, you need to use applications that use encryption. You can make use of Tor Browser which prevents tracking of your online activity. You can also utilize a service like SecureDrop which secures files shared on its server.

Signal is one messaging application that encrypts voice and text messages.

In the same vein, you need to educate your sources on the need for secure communication.

  • Password Management Software

If you’re the type that finds it hard to remember passwords, you can use a password manager to create super-secure passwords for you and store them. Journalists that use sticky notes for their accounts usually have their security breached by other journalists or criminals.

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