How the ‘New York Times’ Protects its Journalists From Hackers and Spies

This week, CYBER speaks to Runa Sandvik, the senior director of information security at The New York Times about how she helps the Times journalists stay safe online and help them protect sources.

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Apr 8 2019, 9:00am

Cathryn Virginia/Motherboard

Hackers have been targeting journalists, and their organizations, for years.

In 2012, The New York Times revealed that Chinese government hackers had broken into some of its systems and the email accounts of some of their reporters and editors. Since then, there have been several other cases of hacks or attempted hacks against journalists in Mexico, the United States, and Russia, among other places.

In response to this increased threat, media organizations are stepping up their defenses. The New York Times has beefed up its cybersecurity team in recent years, including with the hire of Runa Sandvik, a former hacker who used to work for the anonymization network the Tor Project, and who once hacked a smart gun.

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Sandvik, who is the Times senior director of information security, sat down with us on this week’s CYBER to talk about how she raised awareness about cybersecurity threats across the Times’ newsroom, her tips on how to get people with little prior knowledge to use secure messaging apps, and why it’s essential to know at least the basics of infosec to protect sources.