The North American Broadcasters Association has rolled out some security/cybersecurity recommendations for broadcasters working in a studio and out in the field.
The recommendations were generated by the NABA-TC Cybersecurity Subcommittee, which is chaired by engineer John Lee.
“A year or so ago, I was presenting the work of TC Cybersecurity Subcommittee to the board, and there was a specific request from a board member to look at cybersecurity for personnel working in the field,” he said. “There is a lot of information available online on how journalists and their crews can remain cybersecure even when working on stories in hostile physical or political environments. [But] to the best of my knowledge, no broadcast union had to this point formally issued cybersecurity recommendations in this regard. [So] this will hopefully prove to be helpful to our journalists and field personnel,” he said, adding that the recommendations apply to both TV, radio and web journalists.
The in-house recommendations released by NABA include installing antivirus, antimalware or endpoint malware detection tools, and employing a password manager to generate and store strong, complex, unique passwords. The organization suggests enabling multifactor authentication for all accounts by using a code generator like Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator or Duo.
When it comes to software, only use licensed software and check with the IT team before deploying an unknown software tool.
When out in the field, the organization suggests setting up threat modeling for all journalists that work in the field. Threat modeling involves considering what possible threats might present themselves, how likely those threats are to manifest and what steps can be taken to counter a risk.
The organization tells broadcasters to consider providing a smartphone or laptop that can be used specifically for travel; such a device would most likely have limited data stored on it. NABA also suggests that reporters keep essential devices on their person — don’t leave computers in a hotel room or check them in luggage.
A smart but simple step: sign out of applications that store sensitive or confidential data before you leave on assignment, which is particularly important in high-risk situations where the authorities may compel a reporter to turn over a device for examination. And consider using VPN connections at all times when connecting through the Internet in the field.
Here is the complete list of suggestions from the NABA. Broadcasters should also take advantage of additional security guidance by organizations like Freedom of the Press Foundation and Committee to Protect Journalists.