A Growing Threat to Journalism: Cyber Attacks

Hackers have been at the center of attacks against journalists
By Dalton Barker

Low pay. Long hours. Dwindling numbers of jobs. All are seen as the biggest threats to 21st century journalists. But the transition from print to digital might pose a larger threat than initially realized for some journalists.

Recent attacks, allegedly sanctioned by the Chinese government, against the Washington Post and New York Times has raised concerns not only on the corporate front, but with individual journalists.

According to a recent study by the Committee to Protect Journalists, cyber attacks against journalists have risen because it's less expensive to target individual journalists instead of better protected companies.  From personal computers to online storage devices, journalists are now more at risk from cheaply-hired hackers.

However, it is not only U.S.-based reporters working for the aforementioned companies who need to worry. Attacks have taken place globally.

According to Reuters, Africa and Asian reporters have experienced similar attacks and even an entire newspaper brought down in Ethiopia by way of inexpensive, criminal hackers located around the world.

Essentially, anything accessible via the internet can be infiltrated and used against you like in Slate writer William Gerrity's case. Gerrity was working in China when a seemingly harmless email from 'Eric' turned into an attempt at blackmail.

The New York Times attack should serve as a wake-up call not only to major media conglomerates but also to journalists operating all over the world.

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

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