SecureDrop for Journalists


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This guide presents an overview of the SecureDrop system for a journalist. It covers the core functions necessary to start working with the platform: logging in securely, viewing documents, editing documents, and interacting with sources.

Journalists will use at least two separate computers to interact with SecureDrop. The first is a Journalist Workstation, which connects to the Journalist Interface. Journalists download encrypted submissions and copy them to a Transfer Device (a thumb drive or DVD). Those submissions are then connected to the airgapped Secure Viewing Station (SVS) which holds the key to decrypt them. The SVS is used to read, print, and otherwise prepare documents for publication. Apart from those deliberately published, decrypted documents are never accessed on an Internet-connected computer.

SecureDrop provides a number of benefits intended to protect journalists. Communications through SecureDrop are encrypted in transit, so messages cannot be easily intercepted and read while they are moving across the Internet, and are also encrypted on the server so if any attacker manages to break into the server, they would not be able to read past messages.

In addition, the decryption key for submissions resides on an air-gapped computer (not connected to the Internet), which makes it harder for an attacker to access.

It also helps in the event of a subpoena or court order. All servers are owned by the individual news organization, so no third-party companies can be secretly subpoenaed. Additionally, SecureDrop limits the amount of metadata it collects and saves, so there’s no trail showing exactly when a journalist was speaking with a source, or details that might give the source away.

For full details about what makes SecureDrop a unique and useful tool for Journalists, see here.