Kansas courts IT systems offline after ‘security incident’

Court gavel

Information systems of state courts across Kansas are still offline after they’ve been disrupted in what the Kansas judicial branch described last Thursday as a “security incident.”

Multiple systems crucial to daily court operations across the state have been impacted, including the Kansas Courts’ eFiling system used by attorneys to submit case documents, the electronic payments system (including credit card transactions and electronic checks), and the case management systems employed by district and appellate courts for case processing.

In response to the situation, the state’s Supreme Court issued an administrative order today, confirming that clerk offices in appellate courts and most district courts (except Johnson County) are offline.

Despite the ongoing issue, courts remain operational. However, clerks are currently unable to accept electronic filings or payments, with all submissions being made in paper format or via fax. Hand delivery or mail services are also available for paper filings.

“By declaring the courts inaccessible for efiling purposes, certain filing deadlines may be extended under applicable rules and statutes,” the Kansas Supreme Court said on Thursday.

“The Supreme Court took this action to give the judicial branch time to examine a security incident that has disrupted access to court systems.

“Courts will accept paper filings and filings by fax. Fax filings cannot be accepted if payment is required. Courts also cannot accept electronic payments, whether by credit card, electronic check, or another electronic method.”

Kansas courts security incident

​The network problems experienced by the Kansas judicial branch as a result of last week’s incident disrupted user access to the following online systems:

  • Kansas Courts eFiling, which accepts electronically filed documents.
  • Kansas Protection Order Portal, which accepts electronically filed documents.
  • Kansas District Court Public Access Portal, which allows searching district court case information.
  • Appellate Case Inquiry System, which allows searching appellate court case information.
  • Kansas Attorney Registration, which allows searching for an attorney by name or bar number.
  • Kansas online marriage license application. Persons can still apply, but the application will not be sent to a district court for processing through the efiling system.
  • Central Payment Center, which operates in the Office of Judicial Administration, will not be able to process disbursements on behalf of district courts.
  • Kansas eCourt case management system, which district courts use to process cases.

The Office of Judicial Administration is collaborating with multiple experts to investigate the security incident, analyzing the nature, cause, and extent of the breach.

It added that it would only be able to provide a timeline for when the affected systems will be back online only after the investigation is completed.

“This order and other information on our website will guide court users on our operations while our information systems are offline. We continue to serve our communities, but we are using different methods until our systems are restored,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert on Monday.

Last Monday, the ALPHV (BlackCat) ransomware gang claimed an attack that affected First Judicial Circuit state courts across Northwest Florida two weeks ago.

Florida court authorities said that all facilities continue operating without disruptions but are yet to confirm the ransomware attack claims made by the ALPHV cybercrime operation.

H/T Brett Callow

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