As the new year begins, many journalists are looking back on 2018 and asking themselves how their profession became so dangerous.

According to The New Republic, thirty-four journalists were killed worldwide in the past year, including the high-profile murder of the Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. This represents an eighty-nine percent increase over the previous year.

If you were to run a background check on https://www.checkpeople.com/background-check on these people, you’d know that in many cases, these killings are carried out by criminal gangs and repressive governments angered by the stories journalists are telling; but the murders are only the tip of the iceberg: every year, thousands more journalists are subject to surveillance, harassment, and abuse from those who feel attacked by the fourth estate.

In this kind of political climate, journalists need to be especially vigilant in going about their work. While journalism has always required reporters to take difficult stands against powerful people, they also have a responsibility to protect their sources and ensure that people passing on important information are not penalized for getting in touch with a reporter.

Unfortunately, most of the standard communication tools, like social media, email, and SMS, were simply never designed to guarantee airtight cyber security, and should a third party want to hack into a journalist’s private messages, they could do so in a matter of minutes.

Even standard encryption tools can be easily compromised by spyware lurking on smartphones and laptops. This is why it is vital for journalists to take extra precautions in 2019 by adopting the latest PGP encryption technology from cutting-edge providers who know how to guarantee one hundred percent secure end-to-end communications.

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Encrypted smartphones running software from companies like ChatMail Secure provide industry-leading protection from surveillance and hacking. Because the ChatMail Advanced Messaging and Parsing Protocol (CAMP) uses multiple layers of encryption, it guarantees that journalists can communicate with sources using standard forms of PGP encryption while defaulting to the more secure Elliptical Curve Cryptography whenever possible.

With ChatMail, it is possible for journalists to access standard tools of the trade, such as voice messaging, image messaging, and instant chat, without having to compromise on security. ChatMail’s messages automatically delete themselves after a day (this can be extended to up to a week), althoughfavourited messages can be stored for longer.

ChatMail phones are also designed to be tamper-proof, and can be set up with a duress password that will wipe any sensitive information should someone try to break into the phone itself.

Most industry experts say that the dangers facing journalists are not going to go away in 2019. This means that reporters who want to make sure they can continue doing their jobs as safely as possible need to find ways to manage these risks.

Upgrading to better encryption software is one of the first steps reporters should take to ensure that their messagescannot be intercepted and read by government agencies, hackers, or corporate surveillance plans. With software like ChatMail Secure, they can do so without jeopardizing their ability to use they tools they need to do their jobs.

Image Credits: Encryption Tools from GaudiLab/Shutterstock

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