Most would agree that jobs that involve writing and research are safe. But yet you are researching how to stay safe as a journalist in 2018. Why? As it’s not always the case that journalism is safe, unfortunately. 46 journalists were killed in 2017. This year, 9 have died so far with the most talked about being the murder of Jan Kuciak and his fiancee. But most of these incidents occur in dangerous countries. This post is about the danger that an average journalist might face. This post will keep you safer, but it cannot guarantee that you will be safe. If you are investigating something that might put your life in danger, contact the police right away.
This post will help you stay safe a journalist when it comes to people stealing your files whether that’s in your home or on the internet. It will help you stay safe when it comes people sending you threats. This post will help you know if somebody is watching you. That’s the kind of stuff that happens to more than a few journalists, and that can be avoided. And this post will help you with that.
If nobody knows your address, you can’t get threats sent home. Nobody can break into your home to steal any information that you might have at home. Nobody can vandalize your property because they hate what you are doing or trying to do. And certainly, nobody can watch your activities around your home.
The problem is that it’s not hard to find out where somebody lives in 2018. If you want to stay safe as a journalist in 2018, or even just as a person, you need to look into your social media.
Do you use Snapchat? Snapchat has a feature that allows other people to tell where you are at. And it’s very precise as you can zoom in a lot. One can easily know where somebody lives based on a comparison of a Snapchat map with a real map. And then, you are not safe. That feature can be turned off though, and you should turn it off if you want to stay safe as a journalist.
Simple things like providing your address on your Instagram bio can prevent you from staying safe. You are giving away information that can be used against you. Look into it.
Of course, there are other ways for people to find you address, but if you want to stay safe as a journalist in 2018, removing your address or the ability for somebody to see your location on social media, will significantly help you stay safe.
Lastly, do not post information about your location on social media. Whether it’s posting a picture of a package that came or simply taking a picture of the area you live in and posting that. It’s easy to know where you live based on that. And speaking of not posting your location, also don’t post where you are not.
You are inviting people to go into your home when you let people know that you are not around. Not too smart, right?
Somebody might be trying to find out if you possess some information that somebody might not want you to know. Somebody might try to steal something from your computer or phone that can be used to blackmail you. It’s incredibly easy to do.
You only need to connect to the same network as the person that’s interested in you for your information to be stolen. You might connect to the Wi-Fi at Starbucks and boom, what you are writing, exposed. Your passwords? Exposed. All it takes is the right piece of software and the same connection.
A VPN prevents someone from taking any information from you. Any information that might be being sent and received by you becomes a bunch of nonsense to anybody trying to access it. Why? As VPN services keep you encrypted.
If we didn’t live in an era of wireless technologies and internet, you probably wouldn’t have to worry about encryption, but we do, and your data can almost always be accessed. All it takes is you connecting to Wi-Fi in a hotel or in Starbucks. Just like that, you are exposed.
Unless you are encrypted.
And encryption is just one of the things that PrivateVPN provides. And not just any encryption. Encryption on the level of the American government. Even the richest drug cartels would not be able to afford to crack that kind of encryption unless they stopped paying for their operations, and even then, it would take a lot of time to gather the money required to crack the AES 256-bit encryption with 2048 DH key that we provide.
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You can’t take care of what you don’t see.
And most people don’t see.
This links back to social media again. If you tweet out you are going to be at x, and somebody knows your address, they might go looking around. They might even break-in. If you have a security cam, you will know. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s that simple.
Even if you are at home, you won’t be able to see as much as a security cam will see. And in 2018, security cameras are pretty advanced. Companies are starting to use AI and facial recognition to keep you safe. You can know if somebody is beside your home several times without ever seeing that person. And that can help you stay safe as a journalist.
These tips will help you stay safer but if you feel like you are in real danger, do contact the police.
And be careful. Do not overshare something before you finish an investigation, especially if involves somebody doing something illegal.
Written by Michael Smolski.