Protecting Journalists and Their Sources with Secure Communications

Being able to protect yourself, and your sources, is essential to journalism. Protecting your source is one of the most fundamental parts of being a journalist. Sadly, protecting sources is harder than ever with so many digital vulnerabilities for bad actors to exploit, and compounded by constant attacks on journalists from all sides.

Secure communication apps for journalists protect them from domestic spying by competitors and adversaries, as well as from those looking to exploit their data or even silence them for speaking out against corrupt regimes. This use case will look at real examples of why journalists need secure messaging as part of their toolkit, and how SKY ECC fits into the picture.

Secure communication apps for journalists

Digital attacks against journalists are bad and getting worse. These statistics paint a troubling picture:

  • Russian hackers attacked 200+ journalists in 2015—50 of which were American.
  • 21 of the world’s top 25 news outlets have been targeted by hackers.
  • 1,400+ journalists and activists in India were targeted on WhatsApp alone. 
  • Nine Mexican journalists were targeted this year, one was killed and his wife and colleagues became targets next.
  • The “0-Click” attack took over the email of at least one journalist in Europe, giving the hacker full control of their device via the iPhone’s Mail app.

Both the Indian and Mexican journalists were attacked with Pegasus, a nasty bit of spyware targeting iPhones.

This sophisticated malware allows attackers to intercept messages, listen and record phone calls, and even track someone’s location. Pegasus is extremely difficult to detect and remove. Pegasus is a commercial product sold by Israel’s NSO group and, according to the company, is only sold to law enforcement and governments to protect against terrorism and crime. However, Pegasus has been used by several governments to monitor, suppress, and harass journalists and activists.

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Protect Your Communications with SKY ECC

How SKY ECC protects communications

SKY ECC devices look like ordinary phones, we only offer devices from Apple, Google, and BlackBerry, but our devices are managed and locked down to prevent, protect, and thwart attacks. Regular phones have SMS, email, and other apps installed which are used to install Pegasus or other malicious apps. SKY ECC devices:

  • can’t send or receive SMS messages—the app isn’t installed on the device and can’t be reinstalled
  • can’t receive phishing emails—there is no email app on the phone
  • can’t be tracked—the GPS is disabled
  • can’t have malicious apps installed—you can’t install any new apps on a SKY ECC device

SKY ECC devices are intended as secure communications devices only. We disable most of the functions in “regular” phones to make them more secure. A SKY ECC device is for secure messaging and that’s it. Every device connects to our secure and private mobile data network. All communications are encrypted no matter what—mobile data or Wi-Fi you’re protected. SKY ECC is protected by two password layers, in addition to your device passcode. Messages aren’t just end-to-end encrypted, all message metadata is encrypted, and you can’t log into SKY ECC over an insecure connection.

We designed SKY ECC to be the most secure communications device you can use. Everything you do on a SKY ECC device is protected. If you, your sources, and editors use SKY ECC devices, your communications and even notes taken on the device, are 100% protected all the time.

Journalists, and their sources, are incredibly vulnerable to hacking with their digital tracks seeming to be private until a skilled hacker applies themselves to the problem. SKY ECC is essential for journalists in high-risk environments to protect your career, your sources, those you’re close to, and maybe even your country.

Don’t assume popular communications apps—especially those made by surveillance-heavy social media companies—are secure or able to protect your privacy.

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Protect Your Privacy with SKY ECC

Secure devices

Private, encrypted mobile data network

Encrypted network communications

Brute-force protections

Private, encrypted mobile data network

Strongest encryption of any secure communications app