U.S. District Court adds new security procedures


Emma Scott Moran
| The Columbus Dispatch

The suspected Russian hack of Microsoft’s internal systems through the SolarWinds supply chain has prompted the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to issue an order bolstering its security procedures.

U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley, the presiding judge, signed an order Friday requiring that certain highly sensitive documents be submitted outside the court’s normal PACER electronic filing system for their protection.       

Until further notice, sensitive documents must be filed by paper or as an electronic copy on a secure electronic device with the clerk’s office, where it will be kept in a secure paper filing or standalone computer system. 

According to the court’s release, this order was prompted by the recent widespread breaches of government and private sector computer systems using Microsoft operating software.  Microsoft said hackers got to view some of its source code repositories but could not alter or make changes to the compromised accounts. 

The federal court considers applications for a search warrant, electronic surveillance and pen register or trap and trace devices highly sensitive. 

Based on the circumstances, some filings — like Social Security records, administrative immigration records and sealed filings in civil matters — may be designated highly sensitive by the court. 

Such documents must be submitted to the clerk’s office as either two paper copies or by filing the documents on a USB flash drive, along with the certificate and service. If applicable, a copy of the court order designating the document as highly sensitive should also be submitted.  

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has courthouses in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, and encompasses forty-eight urban and rural counties in the southern half of Ohio. 

Questions about how a highly sensitive document should be filed with the court should be directed to the clerk’s office at 614-719-3000 in Columbus, 513-564-7500 in Cincinnati or 937-512-1400 in Dayton. 


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