Best online digital security resources for journalists

A row of Chinese journalists sits in front of their laptops

Photo: LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images

The resources listed here have been created specifically with the needs of journalists and activists in mind. There are of course a wealth of others out there on the web. Just make sure you check the publication date of what you are looking at – technology changes extremely rapidly and you’ll want to be reading the latest information. Security in a Box is the biggest online collection of digital security tools and resources. Created by Tactical Tech and Frontline Defenders with activists and dissidents in mind, the website uses short scenarios to help you better understand digital threats and risks. It also recommends free software and software settings for just about every imaginable situation. The best thing about this site is how it explains the technical aspects in minute detail and provides myriad screenshots. It makes things easy even for non-techies. Video tutorials are also available.

The Rory Peck Trust’s Digital Security for Freelance Journalists is one of my personal favorites. The information is easy to understand and the site has lots of quick and easy tips for boosting your digital safety. It also has further resources arranged by topic.

The Online Survival Kit from Reporters Without Borders is a great resource that divides the topic into easy-to-understand sections.

The Committee to Protect Journalists looks at information security as part of its Journalist Security Guide (available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Somali).

Also check out CPJ’s security blog - it’s about security in general, but is also a good source for information on digital safety and surveillance. Security expert Frank Smyth, who also writes for CPJ, has a good overview of the topic.

The Journalist Survival Guide is a terrific animated resource created by a Beruit-based organization. Available in English and Arabic. Here’s a review of the guide’s strengths and weaknesses.

Small World News put out this Guide to Safely Using Smartphones – a really important topic. In 2012, Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Rémi Ochlik were killed in Syria. It is likely that the Syrian government deliberately bombed the building they were in after locking onto their satellite phone signals.

Internews’ thorough Speaksafe: Media Worker’s Toolkit for Safer Online and Mobile Practices is available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has loads of resources under their Surveillance Self-Defense Protect (also in Russian). Their Deeplinks blog is also a good place to keep updated on digital defense strategies.

The International Journalists’ Network has an interesting collection of articles on safety in general. Scroll through to find those dealing with digital security.

Spanish speakers – check out the Manual de Seguridad Digital y Móvil produced by Freedom House and the International Center for Journalists.

You can also take the Simplisafe digital security quiz to find out how vulnerable you are. If we’ve missed any resources you think should be added to this list, let us know!

Written by Kate Hairsine, edited by Kyle James

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