Parts Pennsylvania Courts website still down; victim of increasing ‘cyber mischief’

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Portions of the Pennsylvania Courts website remained down Tuesday morning, two days after the state court system’s announcement that it was victimized by a denial of service cyber attack on Sunday.

“Following its partial restoration yesterday, portions of the website are down again – including PACFile, GTS, web dockets and court summaries, and PAePay. Urgent work is underway to restore these web services and our court information technology and executive team continues to work closely with the FBI and Homeland Security to analyze and investigate the cyber attack,” Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Debra Todd, said on Tuesday morning.

The website’s network was flooded with traffic by “malicious actors” paralyzing the court’s online filing, tracking, and paying systems.

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The State Senate held a hearing just last week on how to help governments better protect themselves from what seems inevitable.

“The unfortunate reality over our world is that no organization is immune from a cyber attack,” Chair of the Communications and Technology Committee Senator Tracy Pennycuick (R) said.

“We need to make sure we aren’t giving them only knives to take to a gunfight,” Chair Senator Timothy P. Kerney (D) said.

The courts said there is no indication data has been compromised and it’s investigating who did it. Senators have suspicions.

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“China, and North Korea, have entire units of very talented cyber hackers. That is their life. And they are devoted to try and penetrate the Western cyberinfrastructure,” Chair of the State Government Committee Senator Cris Dush (R) said.

Part of the solution is training every worker on what to look for and understanding that their next keystroke could bring down the system or invite in “bad actors with bad intentions.”

“It’s interesting because we as individuals are almost personally responsible for the base level of cyber security as well,” Kearney said.

The government sees the problem and respects the problem, but suspects they are currently in the slow lane when it comes to protecting the information superhighway.

“Now is time to take these threats very seriously and work together to find a path to put commonwealth on better cybersecurity footing,” Pennycuick said.

Todd says Tuesday morning that there is still no indication that any court data has been compromised in the attack.

“While there is still no indication that any court data has been compromised, we appreciate the patience and cooperation of the public, media and legal professionals as we work to bring the entire website back online. We reiterate that, amid this event, the courts have remained open and accessible,” Todd said.

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