Monday, June 3, 2019

3 Secure Communications Tips for Journalists

In a contentious political climate, it becomes increasingly more important for journalists to secure their online communications.

Sources often provide valuable information, and if they are exposed as sources can face personal or career backlash.

In some cases, as with former Senate aide James Wolfe, the source can face criminal charges. Here are three secure communications tips to help journalists.

Tip 1 – Eliminate Metadata of Photos and Documents

First, sending and receiving files securely is the best secure communication tip for journalists. Then, before journalists use documents and photos sent by sources, these files need to have their metadata removed.

A few great tools for this include: Exiftool for documents and mogrify for photos.

Keep in mind that any tracking pixels from Data Leak Protection software needs to be removed in addition to removing the metadata. For PDF files, which are notorious for phishing scams, we recommend PDF-redact-tools.

Tip 2 – Reduce Instant Messaging Issues

While encrypted instant messaging apps may seem secure, they also leave a trail of metadata. So, while the content of the messages may be encrypted, communications between journalists and sources can still be evident.

Messages can be exchanged along with files via web-based Trustwire.

Tip 3 – Document Exchange Security

First, journalists should receive sensitive documents on a secure file sharing platform, such as Trustwire.

This ensures that documents cannot be accessed at any point in transit, nor can they be accessed from storage on Trustwire.

Furthermore, encryption is rock solid, and the platform can be accessed from anywhere. Trustwire does not track usage, IP addresses, or location info, and doesn’t have access to its users’ files or data.

Other options for secure document transfer exist, but sources may not be willing or able to use the technology, rendering it useless.

Then, the file needs to have its metadata scrubbed as well. Use exiftool <filename> on each document. This may involve converting a Word file to a PDF and then using the pdf-redact-tools to be absolutely sure of sanitation.

Secure Communications Tips for Journalists Takeaways

Journalists have an obligation to protect their sources from unwarranted backlash. Beyond that, these secure communications tips can enable journalists to demonstrate a record of integrity.

Removing metadata from images and files can protect sources. More importantly, providing sources with a secure means of transferring sensitive files and exchanging messages is crucial to maintaining privacy.

Trustwire simplifies the former by allowing you to exchange and store files from sources in a secure location.

We provide powerful encryption technology with none of the hassle. Simply sign up for Trustwire and begin sharing files securely.

Trustwire allows you to use end-to-end encryption to send files, and you can send secure messages along with your file. Trustwire will never access your documents or analyze your data for any purpose at all.

Take the guess work out of file sharing, and sign up with Trustwire today.

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