Credits: All from AP - from left: Martin Mejia (Lima 2000), David de la Paz (Mexico City 1999), Jose Luis Magana (Mexico City 1998), Nasser Nasser (Ramallah 2002), Srdjan Ilic (Kosovo 1998) & Nasser Nasser (Ramallah 2000).
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May 7, 2010
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Journalist Safety
UN Resolution 1738


Journalist Safety
CoE Resolution 1535


Killing The Messenger
- INSI Global Inquiry - Report and Recommendations


Live News Africa
- A Survival Guide for Journalists


AIB Directory

Translations of key INSI information are available below in PDF format.
Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your system to read them. Financial resources have been available for some time now.

link to Arabic translation in PDF
link to Kurdish translation in PDF
link to Bengali translation in PDF
link to Azeri PDF
link to Word document in French
link to MS Word document in Spanish
link to MS Word document in Portuguese
link to PDF in Russian
link to PDF in Georgian
link to PDF in Tagalog
link to PDF in Bahasa Indonesia

"Tell a Colleague" button

Computer Hacking on the Rise, Journalists Targeted

With so many different reports dealing with cyber hacking inundating mainstream media on a daily basis, one would think that the average person knows just how vital ironclad Internet security is. However, even those whose personal data is precious, such as journalists, still manage to fall victim to hackers at frightening rates.

The very institutions presenting the hacking horror stories to the public at large are themselves under siege by computer hackers. Not only do journalists have to fear hacking from shady sources they may investigate, crooked politicians and gonzo media using the Internet as their platform, but even the corporations media members work with have a habit of hacking into secure data. Case in point: The hullabaloo at News Corp., where publisher of the Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror, Trinity Mirror Plc, was recently sued for allegedly hacking into real journalists’ phones to steal stories. Over 150 civil lawsuits were filed, with News Corp. paying out over $315 for their admitted wrongdoings.

Even cloud-based servers are being hacked into in order to siphon important information away from journalists. This is why it is essential to secure your cloud. Countless businesses are resorting to cloud based storage, and for a number of good reasons. It is much more convenient to store information in this manner, as there is no reliance on physical storage. As most are aware, physical storage has the tendency to break down. Cloud storage, on the other hand, comes along with none of these risks. Once equipped with cloud security, businesses have virtually limitless storage options. Essentially, the only thing businesses need to worry about is a potential security breach. Last August, Mat Honan, senior writer for Wired Magazine, had his data stolen from his iPad, iPhone and his laptop. The hacker not only stole Honan’s information but used it nefariously, taking over Honan’s Twitter account and wreaking havoc with the reporter’s name while the victim remained powerless to stop it. Mr. Honan is just one of many journalists to suffer this fate. A Miami journalist was reportedly hacked by members of Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign. Huge network outlets like FOX News and NBC have dealt with serious hacking issues in the past. And the list goes on. The common theme here is evident. These journalists were not protected against cyber attacks.

While countries like China wage cyber-war on the United States, hacking some of the most secure systems imaginable, the fact of the matter is that the average person out there with important data to protect can do so by upgrading their security suite. Full disk encryption is the key. It is no longer enough to download a free antivirus or anti-spyware program from the Internet. Even many of those are mere Trojan horses, ushering in dangerous programs to monitor keystrokes and to steal data. According to a 2011 survey by Ponemon Research, 90% of 583 US-based companies polled admitted that their computer systems had been hacked in a 12-month period, with 60% claiming more than one attack. When one realizes that careful journalists, profitable companies and large media conglomerates are being hacked into at will, the picture changes quite a bit.

Hacking journalists and news corporations may reveal more goodies, but everyone is at risk of becoming a victim. In the 2010 APWG Phishing Activity Trends Report (Quarter-3 2009), 22-million computers were scanned, and 48%, over 10.5-million computers, were infected with malware. Many of these people and companies were protected by security systems on their computers and mobile devices. At least they thought they were. Outdated encryption defense on a computer seems to be the equivalent of a locked door versus a monitored security system in the home. Thieves adapt to their surroundings, and picking the weak locks of yesteryear’s computer security programs is now a skill-set that is widespread. Experts suggest far more than installing a simplistic gimmick system. Protecting important data needs an upgraded security system offering full disk encryption. This type of system features dense firewalls, state-of-the-art spyware software, and file encryption software for your data. Updated full disk encryption security offers computer users multiple layers of defense, deterring hackers from entering into your computer remotely, while providing extra layers of encryption security if the unthinkable happens and they do manage to get in somehow. Of course, even the most ironclad security suite is only able to work if an individual upgrades their computer systems.

Convincing journalists of the dangers of computer hacking is half of the proverbial battle. Journalists face threats from every direction. From the competition attempting to run a story first, to the targets of investigations going to great lengths to ensure a story is not run, and even for revenge purposes – hackers are lying in the weeds, waiting to strike once weakness is spotted.

As a journalist, experts across the board concur: Arm yourself with the latest full disk encryption software and guard against computer hacking. Such software is handed out by companies like Alertsec full disk encryption and others alike.

Good Luck!

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Killing The Messenger | Journalists & Media Staff Casualties 2007 | INSI: Killing The Messenger | Women Reporting War | Travel Advisory Gaza | Journalists & Media Staff Casualties Iraq | Trauma Awareness for Journalists Covering Tsunamis | Georgia Safety Tips | ISSUED BY FLEET STREET CLINIC | Bloodiest year for news media | EMBARGOED FOR 0001GMT 3 May 2005 | THE INSI SAFETY CODE | Iraq editor killed, says U.S. media watchdog | INSI welcomes UN action to safeguard journalists | News Deaths Hit All-Time High