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Texas Court Systems Affected by Ransomware Attack

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Texas Court Systems Affected by Ransomware Attack

Websites of the Texas Supreme Court and the state’s appellate courts remained shuttered after being hit by a ransomware attack. The attack affected websites of key Texas judicial organizations including the Office of Court Administration (OCA), which provides IT support to the appellate courts and state judicial agencies within the Texas Judicial Branch. The OCA in a statement detailed that it tracked and stopped the attack from spreading.

The OCA revealed that the attack did not affect emails for the court systems and there was no evidence that any sensitive information was compromised. The agency is now working with law enforcement bodies including the Texas Department of Information Resources to investigate the attack and have vowed not to pay the ransom demanded by the attackers. The authorities also setup a temporary site for operations.

“The attack began on May 8, 2020, during the overnight hours. The attack is unrelated to the courts’ migration to remote hearings amid the coronavirus pandemic. Immediately upon discovery, OCA IT staff disabled the branch network including websites and servers to prevent further harm. The network has remained disabled since this time and will continue to do so until the breach is remediated. OCA is working with law enforcement and the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) to investigate the breach. DIR and other information security authorities are providing assistance to OCA with recovery support,” OCA said in a statement.

“OCA was able to catch the ransomware and limit its impact and will not pay any ransom. Work continues to bring all judicial branch resources and entities back online. In the meantime, a temporary web site has been established with critical judicial branch information, including information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic,” OCA added.