SecureDrop for Administrators


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SecureDrop servers are managed by a systems administrator.

For larger newsrooms, there may be a team of systems admins, but at least one person within the organization will need to serve as the administrator. In some situations, such as smaller news organizations where a journalist has the technical capacity to administer systems, one person can serve as both Journalist and Administrator. When possible, we advise having a dedicated staff member serving the role of SecureDrop Administrator.

The admin uses a dedicated Admin Workstation running Tails, connects to the Application and Monitor Servers over authenticated onion services, and manages them using Ansible.

If you are considering becoming a SecureDrop administrator, below are some attributes that will be important to have:

  • Experience with managing Linux-based systems from the command line.

  • Proficiency with network hardware such as firewalls and switches (e.g. pfSense).

  • Experience with configuration management tools such as Ansible, Salt, Chef, or Puppet.

  • Ability to use and configure secure communication tools such as GPG.

We consider the first two requirements and the second two preferred attributes.

This Admin Guide will walk you through the entire experience, from planning to installation to deployment, and will also provide reference materials to help ensure that your servers remain up-to-date and in proper working order.