Recovery from cyberattack ‘on the horizon,’ Kansas Supreme Court chief justice says


The Kansas state court system is on the verge of fully recovering from an October ransomware attack that forced officials to use paper records for weeks, the Supreme Court’s chief justice said Wednesday of State, Marla Luckert.

During Address on the State of the Judiciary Before the Kansas Legislature, Luckert spoke at length about the incident, telling lawmakers that a Russia-based ransomware gang carried out the attack. first discovered on October 12.

“In doing so, they attacked one of our democratic institutions, a foundation of our democratic society, one of the three branches of our government,” she said.

“These criminals acted against all Kansans, our state and our democratic institutions. Although the source and scope of this incident were not immediately apparent, we would later learn that the Kansas Judiciary had been hit by a ransomware attack.

The incident seriously limited the daily operations of the state’s appellate and district courts in 104 counties.

The court system has now implemented new protections that they say will “limit the damage” and allow them to recover more quickly if another ransomware attack occurs.

As of this week, the case management system has been reinstated alongside the free public portal which provides access to electronic court records.

E-filing has been restored in some districts, but the rest will return to normal over the next two weeks.

Luckert believes that full operation of all systems is “on the near horizon.”

Slow progress

During his speech, Luckert explained that the court’s information services team began investigating a network outage on Oct. 12 and discovered that several servers hosted at the Kansas Judicial Center were inaccessible.

These servers are used for key operations in administrative offices, district courts and courts of appeal. In order to prevent the anonymous ransomware group from moving laterally within the system, they took it offline and shut down much of the system.

Law enforcement and cybersecurity emergency services were called in to assist the state’s CIO in restoring the situation.

On the advice of state officials, law enforcement and lawmakers, they decided not to pay a ransom. In a post-speech interview With the Kansas Reflector, she called the ransom demand a “moving target” and said it was still unclear how much the incident would cost the state. No ransomware gang took credit for the attack.

While they initially hoped for a “rapid” recovery, experts informed them that they not only needed to clean and restore the systems, but also harden them, as victims are usually attacked more than once.

They had working backups that made the recovery process a little easier, but “things progressed more slowly than we would like because our top priority has been to protect Kansans,” she explained.

“Forensic analysis confirmed the cybercriminals’ claim that they had exfiltrated some data. We are working hard to determine what personal information and personal information has been compromised by criminal actors so that we can notify these individuals,” she said.

“As these and other details emerged, it became clear that we needed to implement alternative business practices to keep the courts functioning. Courts across the state have returned to old-school methods, including paper filings. We communicated to the public about how we were using the paper environment.

Justice officials said previously that the stolen information includes Office of Court Administration records, district court appellate records and other data, “some of which may be confidential under the law.”

The devastating attack on the Kansas justice system incidents encountered by several other courts through United States

Luckert thanked IT managers who “sacrificed evenings, weekends, vacations and holidays” to get systems up and running.

She noted that in the Court’s FY 2025 budget request, they requested funding to cover several new cybersecurity positions.

“I express my deep sadness that Kansans have suffered because these criminals attacked our justice system,” she said. “But I thank my fellow Kansans for their support and patience over the past few months.”

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig is a breaking news reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked as a journalist around the world since 2014. Before returning to New York, he worked for media outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.

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