Have Some Security Risks with Your Appellate Filing

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4-Step Computer Security Upgrade

Learn to encrypt your files, secure your computer when using public Wi-Fi, enable two-factor authentication, and use good passwords.

As if electronic filing in the federal court system weren’t bad enough, it’s about to get less secure as well.

In order to e-file in the federal appellate circuits, you must go through the Case Management/Electronic Case Files System (CM/ECF), the nemesis of so many lawyers. And in order to use the appellate CM/ECF, you have to be running a browser that is running Java version 6, a browser plug-in. So far, so boring, right? Here’s the problem: Oracle, which develops and runs Java, is killing it dead finally, probably because it is terrible.

While the plugin started off life back in the ’90s as an innocent way to bring app-like features to browsers, in recent years it has been a headache to users and IT admins struggling to fight against its mountain of security flaws and malware issues. Microsoft and Google have both killed off support for Java applets in Edge and Chrome, leaving Internet Explorer and Safari as the only alternatives for people who really need Java applications in their browser.

Well, guess you could still do your e-filing via Internet Explorer, right? About that.

Note: There is a known problem when using Internet Explorer with appellate CM/ECF. Users may need to disable the next-generation Java Plug-in option from the Java Control Panel for the application to function correctly. Using Firefox will avoid this problem.

Does this mean you won’t be able/won’t have to e-file? No. It means you will still be required to do so, but will be using an aging and already-insecure plug-in that will be unsupported, which means it will get even less secure and even more awful. Oracle has actually put together a manual for government and large business users on how to migrate away from the plug-in, so you can expect that to happen by about…let’s say 2020 or so.

Featured image: “JavaScript virus are presented in the form of binary code” from Shutterstock.

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