Global Cyber Alliance Bolsters Cyber Defences to Safeguard European Journalists

Media Members Now Have Resources and Tools to Secure Their Work

GENEVA, May 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, in recognition of World Press Freedom Day, the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), with the support of the US Mission to International Organizations in Geneva, brought together leading cybersecurity and privacy experts from the journalism community to underscore the need to protect journalists and their ability to cover news with freedom and journalistic integrity. The event, “Protecting Free Press in a Connected World,” included a workshop to educate members of the European media on how to bolster their cyber defences using tools from the GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit for Journalists.

The event, sponsored by the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Geneva, focused on raising awareness of digital threats and disseminating the toolkit to journalists throughout Europe. GCA aims to promote a human rights-based approach to cybersecurity; a cybersecurity centred on the security of individual users that are most impacted by cyberthreats, rather than opposing rights to security.

Cybersecurity is not experienced evenly by everyone. Human rights defenders, journalists, and people in positions of marginalisation or vulnerability can experience particular risk. To protect journalists and their sources, GCA developed a Cybersecurity Toolkit for Journalists to serve as a free, operational resource for journalists, watchdogs, and small newsrooms enabling them to shore-up their digital defences. It provides a set of tools that journalists can use to protect their online presence, ensuring that their work remains under their control and helping maintain trust with their audiences through reputation management.

The toolkit is oriented towards professionals who depend on their own devices, whether they are freelancers, work for small institutions, or spend a lot of time in the field. It is an acknowledgment of where the industry has headed, while also recognizing the rapidly-changing risks online-based news invites. Watchdogs, such as those which work with vulnerable sources or manage large amounts of sensitive data, can also benefit from the tools laid out in the toolkit. The free tools include encryption of data, set-up of automatic backups, secure communications, and more.

The toolkit follows best practice recommendations provided by the Center for Internet Security (CIS), the UK’s National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC), and Australia’s Cybersecurity Centre. These global guidelines provide the blueprint for the organization of the toolkit and selection of the tools included. To support adoption and use of the toolkit, GCA has also made a community forum available where members of the journalism community can pose questions, share challenges and experiences, propose solutions, and interact with each other and GCA cybersecurity experts.

“To achieve GCA’s mission of reducing cyber risk, we work to unite communities and scale cybersecurity solutions. The GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit for Journalists reflects this approach. We designed and engaged an advisory group and held listening sessions with a varied team of journalists. These discussions provided vital input to the toolkit,” said Megan Stifel, Executive Director, Americas; Director, Craig Newmark Philanthropies Trustworthy Internet and Democracy Program. “We are also devoting ongoing efforts to adapt our solutions to various regions. The European Launch of the GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit is a first engagement to the development and implementation of the toolkit in Europe, and we are very grateful for the support of the U.S. Mission in Geneva and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the toolkit sponsor, for making it possible.”

Support for the toolkit comes from Craig Newmark Philanthropies as part of a growing portfolio of initiatives to build trust in the Internet and democracy.

“My high school history teacher once said that a trustworthy press is the immune system for democracy. As our world and work becomes ever more connected, the press in particular has become a target. Journalists around the world are constantly at risk of those who seek to disrupt and undermine their ability to shed light on the truth. Good cyber hygiene for journalists is more imperative than ever – to protect themselves, their work, and their sources,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “Vigilance must be maintained. I encourage all members of the fourth estate to shore up their cyber defenses and to use the GCA toolkit as a means to do so.”

“State actors and government-led interference saw the criminalisation of journalists in 2020, causing unprecedented damage to the practice of free and independent journalism. Amidst the intensifying online abuse of news media and the ever-increasing threat to the personal safety of journalists, it is critical for practitioners to acquire the tools and skills to safeguard their online presence and data,” said Derek Bowler, Head of Social Newsgathering, Eurovision News Exchange, EBU Media and moderator of the panel discussion.

“Journalists are under constant threat – and many don’t have access to the support provided by large organisations. GCA’s initiative could hardly be more timely, and I’ve no doubt it will make an enormous contribution to mitigating those threats and supporting journalism,” said Martin Turner, CEO, Full Frame Technology, former BBC journalist and GCA Toolkit Advisory Group Member.

The GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit for Journalists can be found at https://gcatoolkit.org/journalists.

About the Global Cyber Alliance
The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) is an international, cross-sector effort dedicated to reducing cyber risk and improving our connected world. We achieve our mission by uniting global communities, implementing concrete solutions, and measuring the effect. GCA, a 501(c)(3) in the US and a nonprofit in the UK and Belgium, was founded in September 2015 by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the City of London Police, and the Center for Internet Security. Learn more at www.globalcyberalliance.org.

About Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. It works to advance people and grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans & military families. For more information, please visit: www.CraigNewmarkPhilanthropies.org

Aimee Larsen Kirkpatrick
Global Communications Office
alkirkpatrick@globalcyberalliance.org

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