On Tuesday, the New York Times fired Runa Sandvik, the newspaper’s Senior Director of Information Security, and eliminated the position altogether.
In a newsroom, strong cybersecurity not only protects journalists and other staffers from hacks and other threats, but also protects their sources, some of whom may be put at risk by having their identities disclosed. By eliminating the security-focused role, the NYT seems to be leaving individual staffers to fend for themselves.
Today the @nytimes chose to eliminate my role, stating that there is no need for a dedicated focus on newsroom and journalistic security. I strongly believe in what I do (and what we did), and to say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. (1/3)
— Runa Sandvik (@runasand) October 22, 2019
It’s unclear what will change about the NYT‘s cybersecurity protocols without Sandvik, but hopefully they don’t fall by the wayside.
In May, Wired reported that hackers breached the encrypted messaging service Whatsapp. Just last week, CNN ran an experiment to see if a hacker could steal one of its tech reporters’ data — and the hacker succeeded almost immediately.
All that is to say that digital security is never quite as strong as new organizations might assume, and journalists working high-stakes stories ought to have an extra set of eyes looking out for them.
More on hackers: Yahoo Engineer Admits He Hacked User Accounts to Hunt for Nudes