Connecticut Courts Hit with Ransomware Attack

According to court officials, 114 of the 535 servers were affected, but the threat has since been contained.

by David Owens, The Hartford Courant / March 9, 2018

(TNS) — A ransomware attack has knocked the Connecticut court system’s computers off line.

The ransomware infection began Friday morning, said Melissa Farley, a Judicial Branch spokeswoman.

“We’ve successfully contained it,” Farley said Friday afternoon. Information technology staff are now working to remove the ransomware from computers. Officials do not yet know how it got into the system, she said.

A similar bug hit more than 100 computers in 12 state agencies last month.

Servers and personal computers were hit by the virus.

“We have 535 servers and 114 were affected,” Farley said. “But the good news is most of those servers that were affected were test servers.” The affected servers are used to test programs before they are put online, she said.

Ransomware, a computer virus that usually arrives via an email attachment, a malicious link or infected software, encrypts data on the victim's computer and demands payment for an encryption key that unlocks it.

The loss of the system made it difficult for court clerks to handle routine business such as fine and fee collection. They’ve also had to resort to old fashioned fax machines to send information about restraining orders and protective orders to police departments, Farley said.

“It is important to note that absolutely no private information was released as a result of this infection, no data was breached and no files have been lost,” Farley said.

The Judicial Branch is working with its security vendor to eradicate the infection and to eventually bring the system back online, she said.

The goal is to get the most critical functions back online. Courts should function close to normal on Monday because dockets were already prepared, she said.

Branch IT staff will work through the weekend, but it remains unclear when the system will be at 100 percent, she said.

©2018 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.