After planning your research and identifying relevant sources, you probably want to start your investigation as soon as possible. But there is one more step to consider before the research can commence: data security. By investigating a controversial hypothesis, you may experience tension with individuals on the opposing side, who may ultimately want to manipulate or spy on your research. Ask yourself: Who would be interested in preventing your investigation from becoming public? What means do these individuals possess (that you do not)? Is your research based on human or digital sources? Which security tools should you use to protect your work?
It goes without saying that your sources should take security precautions as well. Ensure they are aware of security tools to protect themselves from infiltration. Nevertheless, be aware that there is never 100 percent security. You can only make it hard, expensive and lengthy for an opponent to access your device and the information stored on it.
The following chapter will provide an overview of security strategies that will help protect your devices. There will be examples of apps and software you can use. Before installing any (here suggested) software, check the latest version of each application or tool since the Internet is always changing. And do not be too cheap! The market offers free and paid versions of software. Check which programme suits your needs best, and then decide which version to use. We recommend to check the availability of open-source software that allows other IT-experts to look into the code ensure its security. Potential security leaks will usually be detected very fast in open-source software, especially compared to private software that usually does not display their code, meaning no one but the owner can check for security threats.