Security Primers for Journalists and Activists in Ukraine

Putin and his security apparatus are keeping many lists and the barrier to entry is likely very low. If you're a journalist, activist, political figure, or influencer in Ukraine you must up your security game immediately.

Security Primers for Journalists and Activists in Ukraine
Photo by Christina Ambalavanar / Unsplash

I'm sure that most native Ukrainians have a deep appreciation for what it would mean to have Russian tanks rolling through Kyiv. That's pretty much the end of everything good - at least for a while. And while that outcome is not certain I do hope that everyone in the country who is engaged in any work that occupying forces would find distasteful will think deeply about what could await them in that scenario. This applies to Ukrainian journalists, politicians, activists, intelligence professionals, and anyone else who supported or who might support a vision of a free Ukraine. If we reach that point it means that Putin's hands will truly be untied. You can't stay behind and speak truth to power. You won't be able to continue in your current role and be a thorn in the occupiers side. They will imprison, torture, or kill (probably all three) anyone who poses a threat.

I've pulled together several security primers. Most written for journalists in oppressive regimes or combat zones but they include security tips that are relevant to everyone. If you're in Ukraine you have to move to a state of readiness now - well before Russians are on your doorstep. In fact, given the Russian fondness for hacking and disruption, I'd encourage everyone and every business in the region (and in the alliance) to get serious about their digital security posture now. We will be in a state of persistent, wide-ranging cyber conflict for the foreseeable future. Not all of the fallout will be overt or discoverable.

Just a reminder that if you live in Ukraine you need to perform a more comprehensive assessment that goes well beyond digital hygiene and basic OPSEC strategies mentioned in the guides here. Now is the time to think and plan for a potential (and permanent) evacuation, personal financial implications, strategies for managing personal medical issues, and the many other disruptions that war could bring. Don't panic by any means, but please do prepare.

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