5 Cybersecurity Tools Every Journalist Must Have

March 19, 2021

Jack Warner

Journalists are a treasure trove of data and essential information.

At any chosen time, they will have several leads they are pursuing and documentation of the progress made on every front. This is information that must not be compromised or leaked lest the investigation is killed before it has gotten anywhere at all.

To do this, and stay safe as a journalist, will be to get intimated with cybersecurity tips. Of course, you don’t work in IT, but the world we now live in calls for watching your cyber-back.

Install a VPN

A VPN can be used to do a lot of things.

The software can help you change your location at will, bypass geo-blocking attempts, and more. In this case, though, you need a VPN to ensure the security of your communications.

Basic internet networks are lacking in encryption. This means that anyone with the right tools can snoop around your internet data and see what you are doing on the system. This also gives them access to your computer, so much that they can hijack your conversations.

However, when you secure your internet traffic with a VPN, all your data is encrypted, even to your ISP.

Get a Secure Browser

Your choice of internet browser is equally something worth considering.

A lot of browsers in the market do not protect you against browser fingerprinting techniques, cookie tracking, and more. When your browser is not privacy-focused, you face the risk of exposing yourself/ sensitive data to anyone that can hack into such browsers.

Consider browsers like the Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Tor, and Brave browser.

For a comprehensive security package, layer your browser connection over a VPN for improved encryption of your data.

Password Manager

Depending on the kind of platforms you use, chances are you have a lot of online accounts. Maybe even more than the average internet user.

We believe that you know the importance of setting strong and secure passwords for each one of those accounts.

The good news is that these password managers usually come with a password generator too. The better news is that they come up with some of the passwords that are almost impossible to crack.

That said, it would be almost impossible to remember all of the secure passwords you have created for all of those accounts. That is where the password manager comes in to take the pressure off of you.

Antivirus software

We are sorry it took us this long to mention this tool, but that doesn’t make it any less critical.

You might find out hackers sending you malware in the form of files to download. This can be disguised as a leak, relevant information to a lead you are chasing, or anything else that will catch your fancy.

This is why we recommend that you never download unsolicited attachments, especially when they are from untrustworthy sources. If you must download them, though, make sure to have run it through your antivirus software first.

Fortunately, you can link the antivirus software to your mail service provider and some other apps too. That way, you can ensure total protection within other apps also.

Secure sharing

You share files a lot – and that is a fact.

With the proper protections in place, files on your computer will be well insulated against attacks from the outside. However, data in motion have a very fragile security protocol around them sometimes. This might make it easy for a hacker to hijack those files for themselves.

For better file sharing, we recommend using secure file sharing platforms on the internet.

No, we are not talking about the likes of Dropbox. After all, these companies state in their terms and conditions that they have the right to see what you store on them.

Instead, go for highly secure picks like SecureDrop, OnionShare, etc.

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