Columbia Journalism Review reveals that countries like Syria and Libya may have hacked into the computers and email accounts of journalists covering the uprisings there. Among those targeted were reporters for CNN, and CJR suggests that compromised files from a CNN reporter’s email may have resulted in sources being killed by the governments.
In an attempt to warn the people named in the e-mails, he contacted Ahmed Ali, a Libyan activist in the US at the time, and passed him a list of the journalists who’d been hacked, as well as a spreadsheet which showed the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of underground sources in Tripoli that he said he’d obtained from a CNN account. As proof, he provided the journalist’s username and password to Ali, and Ali was able to log into the journalist’s CNN account with Outlook. Ali then passed along the information to CNN. A CNN spokeswoman told me the network had been informed of “a possible breach,” and had taken steps to remedy it. She declined to go into further detail.
The entire article is worth reading, and really shines a light on how technology, while making coverage easier in many respects, also opens up new risks for journalists.