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How To Become A Privacy Ninja: Use These Tools For Journalists

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Practice disappearing with this safety training checklist. Smoke bombs optional.

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A New Data Protection Violation story apparently pops up every week, repeating the annoying question for most of us: When did you last upgrade your surveillance self-defense? You do not have to go to the nearest Watergate to get basic privacy policies on the Internet. Whether you're a newcomer to online privacy, or a security-conscious professional willing to participate in next-level cybersecurity training, we have a checklist to help you get started.

For newbies

Use a password manager.

If you've been told about cybersecurity, follow these steps: Create strong passwords that are unique to each of your online accounts, routinely change them, and never use old ones. Most browsers automatically offer to save your passwords when you log in to a new site. Do not take the bait and do not waste your time memorizing them all. Instead, use a secure password manager.

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Protect your information with a password manager


The simplest starting point is LastPass, a service with browser extensions and its own one-tap authorization app for iOS and Android. Although it offers a $ 36 per-year premium option, the free version's security features are solid: LastPass checks your database with passwords and warns you about duplicates, can automatically generate unique passwords for each site, and automatically saves new sites when you create them logins. LastPass, however, is not the only player in the game. CNET's recent listing of password managers can keep you up to date when looking for the right option at the right price.

As you improve your login procedures, you should enable two-factor authentication for your social media and email accounts. If you enable this additional level of protection for sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Google, you will be prompted to enter not only your password but also a secondary form of authentication, often a one-time SMS security code that the site sends to your mobile phone.


Simplified encryption apps on your phone provide privacy by encrypting your communications so that anyone who intercepts them can not read them – as long as both the sender and the recipient have the encryption properly use. Although the comparative security strength of various encryption apps is controversial, the constant drive by governments and intelligence agencies to break or ban them is evidence of their overall effectiveness. You do not have to know exactly how end-to-end encryption works to take advantage of it. You just have to start with the installation.

Start with Signal, the free open source desktop, Android and iOS software. You can use it to make encrypted calls, to send texts, videos and pictures. To use, both you and the recipient of your message need Internet access on their mobile device. Android users have the option to set Signal as the default messaging service.

And why should you stop using your phone if you can encrypt your messages on all digital fronts? There are a number of potential apps that provide some privacy for video chats, hard drives, emails, and more. But remember, fish files can still get into an encrypted inbox. Run suspicious attachments through an online virus scanner, such as Virus Total, before sharing them with your device.

Prevent web browsers from spying on you.

The Washington Post referred to Google Chrome, the world's most popular web browser, as "surveillance software." The fact is, you need to be vigilant to prevent Chrome from spreading your data across the Internet. In Chrome, Firefox, or most other popular browsers, you can use private mode or incognito mode to protect your browser sessions.

However, if you want to take your privacy seriously, Brave is an out-of-the-box browser with sophisticated controls for blocking ad trackers and third-party cookies (which you can track through social buttons on a web page on the web). and third-party fingerprints. Since Brave is based on the same open source Chromium technology as Chrome, you can use most Chrome extensions without dragging a nasty trail of Chrome trackers.

Under the bonnet of Vivaldi, which offers versions for MacOS and Windows, is the same Chrome-based mechanics. From the makers of Opera Vivaldi is a hyper-customizable browser that is expected to release 2019 versions for iOS and Android (without ad blocking, along with a stand-alone e-mail module).

Intermediate [19659023] Get VPN

A virtual private network is an essential level of security based on browsing software, which is a private network between you, the websites you visit, and any wireless devices that you connect to created. To ensure complete confidentiality, your ISP is usually blinded to the websites you visit and your IP address. or worse.

VPN rates are as diverse as their security, which is largely based on the protocols used. Long-term favorites like IPVanish may cost $ 58.49 a year, but they do not log user activity, allow you to deposit Bitcoin and offer a connection killswitch.

By directly comparing CNET with the best VPN services we've found in 2019, you can turn away from the rocks.

Learn Tor

Similar to a VPN, the Tor Browser operates over a growing network of servers. In Tor's case, every request from your computer is routed through an encrypted relay system by agents to hide your identity and make tracking your activity more difficult. The relays or nodes are operated by volunteers and are open.

Unfortunately, there are no official Tor browsers for iOS, but Tor has installation options for Windows and MacOS, as well as an official Android app. But security is a slow business. Do not expect to stream movies through Tor Browser.

Visit Tor's official website for instructions on how to download and set up.

Your Privacy Hygiene List

To summarize, here are some quick tips for good privacy:

  • Never use passwords again on multiple sites.
  • Never allow a web browser to save your passwords.
  • If possible, enable two-factor authentication for your accounts.
  • Never connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot without connecting to a VPN.
  • If possible, use incognito mode or a privacy-oriented web browser or take the leap to Tor.
  • Run a virus scan for email attachments, including those from friendly sources, before opening them.
  • All confidential SMS conversations should always be routed via a secure messenger such as Signal.

Advanced Training

If privacy education and evasion monitoring programs have whetted your appetite for cyber security, there's no reason to stop using these apps. Here are some places where you can do more free or low-cost training.

  • The Society of Professional Journalists maintains a list of privacy and security tutorials and tools stored in its journalist's toolbox.
  • Udemy offers a cybersecurity survey class for $ 9.99, which gives you an overview of the basics of good security.
  • Professor Messer offers an extensive collection of safety training videos if you are interested in a selection of cybersecurity principles and best practices.

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