Hackers shouldn’t always be the reporters’ main enemies

Journalists whose jobs are traditionally thought of as a rollercoaster of lurid red headlines, quick edits and an easy ride into the public eye could find that there is more to their jobs than mere clickbait headlines. In many cases, there can be dangers lurking in the office—and it can make your job that much harder.

Or it could be your job.

The term “lab leak” is a commonly used term by some hackers, particularly when they are feeling angry over a story or investigation. “I really want to let you know I’m f–king with you. I’m really f–king pissed with you,” a hacker in the hallways of a publication would commonly boast, but scientists have found lab leaks even more serious.

Often, it is the “Cops” who end up being the unsuspecting victims of these leaks. The publication might have a trove of evidence that’s been stored in its system for months. The media outlet might be questioning whether it should even bother to bring the story to the public, but when your institution suddenly releases the documents, you lose control of what’s important and what’s not.

Institutions are setting up technology that allows them to hold on to and analyze more information on their employees, but these aren’t old technology. In 2007, it was revealed that The New York Times had been breached after its computer system was hacked by the News of the World. And there have been leaks from non-journalistic workers at any number of companies, ranging from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, to politicians like former SEC chair Mary Schapiro and most recently Henry Blodgett.

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