Turn on your automatic updates and don’t ignore them when prompted. Out of date software that hasn’t been patched for security loopholes is often the point of entry for malicious attacks. Updating software can be annoying when you are trying finish that expedite, but it will be a lot more annoying when it is used against you!
Data Security Ethics and Best Practices for Court Reporters
By Andy Fredericks I Director of Reporter Engagement
The issue of digital security and privacy should be a paramount concern to the modern court reporter. Your biggest risk? Believing “it won’t happen to me.”
Individuals and companies, small and large, often neglect developing their security infrastructure until an attack occurs and it’s too late. No one is spared from the interest of cyber-criminals. Largely hackers are indiscriminate in their approach, choosing to cast a broad net to collect information and reviewing what they’ve plundered for value after the attack. It’s not necessarily about YOU, it’s about the numbers.
As guardians of the record, court reporters have access to a broad expanse of privileged and confidential information and it is their individual responsibility to protect that data. The NCRA’s Code of Professional Ethics states, “(Reporters must) preserve confidentially and ensure the security of information, oral or written, entrusted to the reporter by any parties in a proceeding.” This extends to work product transmitted or stored by your devices and any individuals you employ in your professional practice, i.e. Scopists and Proofreaders.
The first step in protecting yourself is recognizing that the human factor is weakest link to your security infrastructure and acting to protect your digital security based on that fact. With the busy life of a court reporter it’s difficult to stay apprised of the latest security trends. The good news is that there are some core guidelines that are a sound starting point to develop your digital security toolkit and to mitigate your risk and exposure. Here are some of our top recommendations as to how you can protect yourself and your work product.
- Two factor authentication is widely available for most secure websites and applications and is FREE to use. Two factor authentication requires you to type in your password to access an account, but then requires that you type in a second randomly generated pin number that is sent by push or SMS notification to your mobile device.
- The benefits of two factor authentication are that cyber criminals now require two pieces of information to access your account and if you are receiving pin codes while not trying to access your account, you’re alerted that someone else is and you can take the appropriate actions.
- If you’re using “Password”, “1234” or any simple variation thereof, you are creating more of a personal burden to access your own accounts than an actual boundary for a hacker. Simple passwords are as ineffective as not having a password at all.
- Lock your computer and mobile devices with a complex password.
- Use a mixture of characters, including characters and numbers, the longer the better.
- Don’t write your passwords down.
- Don’t use the same password for multiple important accounts.
- Having multiple passwords, especially lengthy ones can be difficult to remember. Use a password management tool to keep them all secure and in one place.
- Just because a link looks safe, doesn’t mean that it is. Links can be sent in e-mails or messages that look a website you know or trust, but re-direct to a different website all together.
- To combat this, hover over the link in your e-mail browser (without clicking) and the actual website that the link will take will be displayed. Review the website to make sure it’s where you want to go.
- Social engineering is becoming an increasingly popular tactic employed by hackers to take advantage of seemingly real situations and to manipulate the target into revealing personal or financial information.
Like we said in our first recommendation, make sure to set your anti-virus protection to automatically update or to accept any updates when prompted. Your anti-virus protection is only doing its job properly if it is up to date to combat the latest cyber-security threats.
- Last, but not least, back up all your data! If something does compromise your device the only guaranteed way to recover the information is through a backup.
- Consider using a cloud based back up service
- If you back up to an external hard-drive make sure the device is removed from the internet and that it is stored in a physically secure space
Want to learn more about digital security and how to best protect yourself? Register for our complimentary CEU Webinar “Data Security Ethics and Best Practices for Court Reporters”
Questions about this article? E-mail: CourtReporter@veritext.com