Our lives are becoming increasingly linked to technology. For some, it’s even hard to get through a day without going online.
This is not just because they use the internet for entertainment but also because they need to do online transactions. With that, more and more data is being collected about us and our online activities.
Journalists are the ones who are especially vulnerable to surveillance or hacking by malign actors because of the nature of their work. They do a lot of research and access a lot of websites or online platforms with their information and this is why they are one of the most careful individuals whenever they access the internet.
We can learn a lot from journalists on how they approach security to improve our security and privacy online. Here are five ways that help journalists protect their data that could also be beneficial to everyone else online.
Encrypting Your Mobile Device Communication
There are times when connecting to public WiFi is necessary but this is usually a bad idea. This is because public WiFi networks are normally unencrypted. When you go online through them, you make yourself susceptible to loss of privacy and even sensitive information.
This leaves you vulnerable to cybercrime or malicious threats, something that journalists face when reporting on sensitive information or controversial topics.
When going online with a public WiFi connection, you can buy a VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your online traffic. This way, you can log into your social media accounts and even make emergency bank transfers without worries even on public WiFi networks.
With a VPN, third parties or hackers won’t be able to access any of your information and digital activities.
Frequently Clearing Browsing History and Cookies
When browsing online, you always leave footprints behind. This makes you and your information accessible to anybody. Since that’s the case, anyone would be able to take a peek at what you have been doing online and this could lead to them stealing information that isn’t theirs. Journalists need to be extra sensitive to clear their browsing history and hide their tracks.
Whether we go online with our mobile device or laptops, we would usually use browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. You can always choose to go online incognito but there’s only so much that private browsing can do. The best solution here is to frequently erase your browsing history and cookies.
Deleting Conversations with Sensitive Information
We tend to keep numerous chats or message threads on our messaging apps like Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, or Viber and this can be risky especially if we have shared important information with the people we talk to.
When your device gets hacked, the important and sensitive information that you’ve shared with or gotten from others would go out there. This is especially true for journalists when they conduct their interviews sometimes with sensitive information where they are required to keep the identities of their sources or whistleblowers completely anonymous.
Deleting threads or chats from time to time would help you avoid this. If you can, you could even do this right after discussing private information with somebody or before you go to sleep and end the day.
This way, you can keep the conversations that happened online between you and the people you spoke to. If you just can’t delete the conversations yet, use messaging platforms that are encrypted like Signal.
Use Antivirus and Firewall Software
When going online, we tend to go to different websites that we sometimes forget to check whether it’s a safe space. There are also times that we receive emails from unknown people which could contain links to malicious sites. This could result in your device getting infected by a virus or malware which could either break your device or be prone to cyber attackers.
To avoid all that, it’s best to download or buy antivirus software. This will protect your device from suspicious malware and could protect you from hackers. Such software will help ensure that your device is secured when you’re surfing the internet.
Create Strong Passwords to Protect Your Online Accounts and Profiles
Hackers can get creative when it comes to figuring out your online passwords. They may use malware to get your information or simply figure it out through the information you share online. Once they can access your account, they could just change the password and steal whatever they can get from you.
This is especially true for journalists since their emails usually hold vaults of private information of sensitive nature.
This is why you must use strong passwords when creating any online accounts or profiles. Passwords don’t have to belong and at least eight characters with letters, numbers, and symbols would already work.
If possible, it’s also best to use different passwords on your online accounts. This may seem like something hard to manage but you can just use password managers to help you keep track of your online accesses.
These are a few important things that you can do to ensure your online safety. Cybersecurity is something that you should take seriously to avoid being prey to online criminals.
Avoid sharing sensitive information online and always think about the things that you will post. Always consider how your posts could affect you. Know that you can never be too careful when you’re surfing the internet.