Encrypt everything: secure your sources, cover up your comms

Digital journalism brings both opportunities and dangers to those seeking to break sensitive stories. With this in mind Gabor Szathmari, the organiser of CryptoParty Sydney meetups and an information security expert, provided us with an overview on securing our communications: notes below from The Walkeys’ Eliza Berlage and Riley Wilson.

In the age of big data and global collaborative journalism, being armed with the expertise of Gabor Szathmari against your adversaries is a very fortunate thing.

That’s why infosec expert Szathmari put together a website with practical instructions on protecting sources and privacy — steps which he laid out at our last Future Friday, a Cryptoparty for reporters.

You don’t have to be Edward Snowden to have real concerns about surveillance. Any journalist who works with confidential sources needs to know how to protect their identities and information responsibly.

Szathmari ran through the systematic process of threat modelling — ask yourself, who are your “adversaries” — government, corporate hackers, cybercriminals, opportunists? What can they do? And how can you protect yourself? The answers will help you decide what protective steps you need to take.

“They’re after your info and sources — who they are and what you’re talking about.” Szathmari said.

Some resources mentioned in the workshop:
Signal: Privacy that fits in your pocket. A free app for both ioS and Android by Open Whisper Systems, Signal uses end-to-end encryption to prevent surveillance or tampering on your calls and messages. But you have to use it properly, as The Intercept’s Micah Lee wrote recently.
Tor Browser: Hide your internet activity. Using a Tor browser safeguards your privacy by preventing your adversaries from tracking your internet connection — what sites your visit, and your physical location.
Onion Share: Transfer files securely. This free app is an open source tool that lets you securely and anonymously share a file of any size.
Ricochet: Anonymous instant messaging. Using the Tor network, Ricochet creates a hidden service to chat with your colleagues that eliminates your metadata and protects your IP address and location.
Privacy for Journalists: Protect your information sources. Privacy for Journalists is a new website created by Gabor Szathmari providing resources on threat modelling, links to security tips, legislations, and meetups about defending privacy, plus a group chat for exploring best practices.

Want to get more involved in protecting privacy?
Come along to one of the monthly CryptoParty meetups in Sydney. Register here for the next event on July 27.
Join the new privacy group conversation on Slack.
Check out the Privacy for Journalists website. Contributions and ideas are welcome.