Alaska Court System Hacked - P.O.W. Report

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Alaska Court System Hacked

From ehackingnews:


A recent cyberattack has forced The Alaska Court System (ACS) to temporarily discontinue its online services to the public including electronic court filings, online payments, and also prevented hearings that take place via videoconference till the cybersecurity unit removes malware from its network including its working website. Due to the ongoing world pandemic, court matters were being dealt with by an online service. However, now services will be given through phone calls. 

On Saturday, a statement has been put out by the court in which the court said that its website will be inactive and people will not be able to search cases while its research unit fixes the malware that has been executed on its network, in order to prevent a further cyber attack. 

"Today, we were advised that there did appear to be some attempts to infiltrate the court system's computer system. And so we figured out a way to disconnect from the internet to stop the problem to prevent anyone from continuing to try to tinker with our network”, Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Joel Bolger. [...]

This cyberattack is just another example of cyber threats against governmental organizations. There is no doubt that because of the pandemic, cyberattacks against government organizations have been increased. Along with Government organizations, the state and local level governments, with private firms and schools, hospitals, are also being targeted massively.  [...]

The average downtime due to ransomware attacks is 21 days, the average number of days it takes an organization to fully recover is 287, victims paid $350 million in ransom in 2020, a 311% increase from 2019, and the average ransom payment was $312,493, a 171% increase from 2019.

Directly from the Court website:

The Alaska Court System (ACS) has temporarily disconnected online services, including the ability to look up case information in CourtView, to remove malware from its servers. At this time, the court system does not believe any confidential court documents or employee information has been compromised, but will promptly notify any affected individuals if that occurs. No customer credit card information was compromised.

The court system is working with a cybersecurity company to respond to the incident and prevent any further system breaches. ACS disconnected its servers from the internet to stop any additional incursions. This impacts the public’s ability to:

  • access the court calendars on the Alaska Court System website;
  • access to CourtView, the court’s case management system which includes listings of all filings, orders, and hearing dates;
  • send email to any court email addresses, including filing documents by email;
  • receive email from court email addresses;
  • eFiling through TrueFiling;
  • submit online juror questionnaires;
  • participate by Zoom in hearings or meetings;
  • participate in hearings by video from jail facilities that use Polycom systems;
  • make online payments for bail or filing fees; and
  • send citations through TRACS.

The following systems will continue to work:

  • phone, fax and Zoom phone numbers;
  • internal email between ACS employees;
  • courtroom recording system;
  • electronic file access by judicial officers in eFiling locations; and
  • courthouse security systems and building access.

It is unclear when the courts will reconnect to the internet. The court system is committed to continuing operations while remedying the cybersecurity incident. Emergency hearings and essential proceedings will occur including: arraignments, domestic violence hearings, Child in Need of Aid emergency hearings, bail hearings, mental health commitment hearings, emergency guardianship proceedings, and search warrant requests. Other proceedings may occur and the court will notify parties of any schedule changes. Most hearings will happen telephonically. All scheduled jury trials will continue as planned.

The court system will be unable to update its website regularly while online services are down. Phone numbers for individual courthouses are the best way to contact the court system. Updates and more information about accessing services and court calendars will be made on the court system’s Facebook page and Twitter account; you do not need Facebook or Twitter accounts to see updates.

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