Judiciary

published : 2023-11-09

Kansas Restores Digital Court Record Access After Major Cyberattack

The state's judicial branch renews public access to court information following a likely ransomware attack

A photo of the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka, where the public access service center has been established. Taken with a Nikon D850.

Nearly a month after a 'security incident' with all the hallmarks of a ransomware attack, Kansas judicial officials are slowly renewing public access to court information.

To address the issue, the state's judicial branch has opened a public access service center at the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.

The center, staffed by judicial workers, is equipped with 10 computer terminals and operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Individuals seeking access must make appointments online, and the center only allows searching for case information, with no provision for electronic payments.

An image showing lawyers diligently working with paper filings during the court system's massive outage. Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Efforts to fully restore the judicial branch systems are ongoing and will be conducted in phases without a specified timeline.

The recent cyberattack, which exhibited the characteristics of ransomware, caused a massive outage on October 12, severely disrupting court operations across the state.

During the outage, attorneys faced difficulties accessing online records and had to resort to filing motions in the traditional manner, using paper.

While ransomware attacks on court systems have been reported in various states since 2019, the magnitude of the disruption in Kansas is unprecedented.

A close-up photograph of investigators from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and federal authorities examining the cyber incident. Taken with a Sony Alpha a7R IV.

Official details regarding the investigation are scarce, with no confirmation on whether the incident was deemed malicious or if any ransom demands were made.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and federal authorities are actively involved in examining the cyberattack.

As the state cautiously restores public access to court information, the impact of this cyber incident may leave a lasting impression on the functioning of the judicial system.