I have long had mixed feelings about computer security. On one hand I acknowledge we do need to be aware of the issues and take precautions, on the other hand I am such a Pollyanna when it comes to digital technology I just want it to be wonderful and tend to ignore the seamier aspects of fraud and hackers.
Absolute computer security is impossible just like it is impossible to absolutely secure your home against a burglar. All we can do is make it more difficult by adding additional measures. We can simply lock the doors or we can install an alarm, release roving Dobermans and hire 24 hour armed guards. It all depends on the expense and hassle factor we are willing to put up with for the added level of security.
It has been the same with computer security. Additional security layers like multiple “hard” secret passwords changed weekly, dongles, biometrics, encryption, layered firewalls, antivirus applications and such will improve security; it just depends on the hassle factor you are willing to put up with.
What happens in real life in the dental office is that user passwords are anything but secret (they are often left on the computer via sticky note) once logged in we stay logged in all day even though we move away from our computer constantly. It is just too much of a hassle to log off and log back in every time we move from one room to another or get up to go in the back.
The PrivateEye system linked below may be a first step to creating seamless and hassle free security. The computer actually recognizes you and turns itself off and on when you move away. Here is a system we could live with. Log in at the start of the day with a biometric then use a recognition system like PrivateEye to make sure it is you using that machine throughout the rest of the day.
PrivateEye uses a built-in or peripheral webcam to identify your face. As long as you’;re sitting in front of the computer and looking at the screen, it does nothing. If you look away, it fuzzes out the screen contents.