by Lindsay Boyle
By Morgan Sigrist
Technology has improved the way people communicate and socialize, but it has also created a way for hackers to infiltrate the most personal aspects of technology users. This stern warning was delivered by leading experts of cyber security at an event held in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
Cyber security experts Danny O’Brien and Andrew Lewman have made full time professions out of their mission to protect both journalists and technology users from the threat of hackers.
The two leading experts — hosted by the Institute for International Journalism on Nov. 8 — addressed the virtual online and mobile technology challenges to different forums during a cyber security panel.
“(Spyware) records everything you do, every mouse click, every key log, every snapshot, every 30 seconds so they have an exact trail of what you’ve done,” said Lewman, the executive director of a technology protection-developing group known as the Tor Project.
He explained that the Tor Project was created as a way for all technology users to protect their information, especially when using unsecured connections such as those found in Internet cafes.
O’Brien is the Internet Advocacy Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, which protects journalists around the world. The CPJ is a nonprofit organization that works to protect the freedom of communication and journalism from security threats. O’Brien said cyber attacks often come from repressive governments, organized crime or the subjects of stories.
Ohio University visiting professor Andy Alexander also shared his experiences of working as a correspondent and as a free press advocate. Alexander talked about the threats and challenges foreign correspondents faced, then and now, regarding both from tyrannical governments and by warring parties in armed conflicts. He said that today’s journalists face a different and very dangerous type of threat.
Meanwhile, O’Brien said, “It’s important for journalists to keep themselves anonymous, it’s important to tell the sources to protect themselves, and, finally, it’s important for readers and journalists to learn ways of getting around censorship.”
Students and faculty members asked several questions about how they can protect themselves, and about how far they should go to protect themselves.