What is it and why does it matter?
Digital security is the protection of your digital data, network and communications from potential external electronic threats. Managing your digital security is of critical importance as a breach of your digital assets endangers not only yourself, but your colleagues, fixers and sources.
Identifying risks and performing an assessment of potential threats
Identify what data you want to protect and who from. Try to identify all the major components of the digital assets you wish to protect and which likely intentional or unintentional adversaries may threaten them so that you can appropriately begin to minimise potential threats. The Rory Peck Trust and The Electronic Frontier Foundation both provide freelance journalists with resources to help perform a thorough digital risk assessment. Links to which can be found here:
Communicate Confidential Information Carefully
Try to communicate confidential information in person. If you need to communicate via voice call, text or instant message, ensure that both you and your contacts use an application that offers secure End-to-End Encryption. Examples include RedPhone for voice calls, Telegram, CryptoCat and ChatSecure for messaging. Maintain vigilance and good judgment. There are never truly 100% secure methods of communication, but there are practices that increase the likelihood of safer communication.
Appropriately maintain your equipment
Ensure that sensitive stored information is encrypted. Maintain your computer and software with tools like Avast and SpyBot to protect it from malware and hackers. Understand the vulnerabilities of your mobile device/smart phone so that you can use it and its functions and footprint more securely. Understand what equipment and functions may present a risk.
An excellent guide to help you understand and safely use your equipment is provided by Security in-a-box and can be found here: https://securityinabox.org/
Censorship and VPNs
Many governments, companies, institutions and public access points use software to prevent Internet users from accessing certain websites and Internet services.
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an excellent way of circumventing online censorship. A VPN is a method to connect your computer securely to the network of an organization on the other side of the Internet, masking your computer’s location. As well as bypassing local censorship, using a VPN can defeat local surveillance and make your digital assets more difficult for an adversary to access.
There are many VPNs to choose from, and plenty are available for free. Some VPN providers, however, can keep logs of your traffic or even provide a third party with the ability to snoop directly on your web browsing. So invest in a good one, for example, Torguard or Witopia.
A list of reliable anonymous VPN’s can be found here: