2014 has been a wake up call for journalists to protect their sources and themselves, following Edward Snowden's release of NSA data showing that privacy is rare in this digital era.
News organizations began to protect data and readers by replacing websites’ URLs with HTTPs instead of HTTP. The hashtag #https2015 represents newsrooms who pledge to make their sites safer by the end of 2015.
The tools below are just the first steps to becoming a digital security expert, but they're simple, quick ways to start protecting yourself. Here's IJNet's roundup of tools to embrace for a safer 2015.
Tools for anonymous navigation online
- Installing Tor on your computer allows you to hide your location and keep what you do on the Internet private. It’s easy and free to install.
- AnonymoX makes you anonymous online. It’s free for Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers.
Tools for telephone encryption:
- Redphone protects your phone conversation so no one can listen in on either end. It’s a free app for Android that uses WiFi or data to run on your mobile device.
- Created by the Guardian Project, OStel encrypts voice and video conversations. You can sign up to download the app on almost any device, including Apple, Android, Nokia, Windows and Blackberry products. OStel is also seen as a more secure alternative to Skype.
- SilentCircle also provides privacy on phone calls, texts and desktops, but SilentCircle requires you to become a member and pay between $12.95/month and $39.95/month. Users can get free private calls to others who use SilentCircle, but calls to those who don’t have the program cost money.
Tools to encrypt instant messaging:
- Adium is a free download that connects Mac users to instant messaging services similar to AIM, MSN, Jabber and Yahoo so that no one can read your messages. Pidgin does the same for Windows.
- You can download ChatSecure for free on iOS or Android devices to protect your preferred messaging service (from Gchat to Facebook Messenger) on your phone or computer.