Judicial officials confirm Kansans’ information stolen during Oct. cyberattack

Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 12:38 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - More than a month after Kansas’ judicial system suffered a security incident, judicial officials have now labeled it a cyberattack and have warned Kansans that information was stolen and may be posted on the dark web.

The Kansas Supreme Court announced on Tuesday, Nov. 21, that the Oct. 12 security incident that disrupted access to information statewide did result in stolen information. The system had been the victim of a “sophisticated foreign cyberattack,” which impacted information systems used statewide.

Supreme Court Justices noted that the attack left the system temporarily unusable and has affected the daily operations of appellate and district courts in 104 Kansas counties.

“When we discovered the attack, we quickly disconnected our information systems from external access,” the Justices said. “We notified state authorities, and since that time have benefited from the continued support provided by the governor’s office, legislative leadership, and state and federal law enforcement. This attack—on one of our three branches of government—was made against all Kansans.”

The Supreme Court noted that while the impact was temporary, cybercriminals have stolen data and threatened to post it to the dark web if demands were not met. Cybersecurity experts have been brought in to find the data quickly and securely to conduct a comprehensive review and find the full scope of what personal information was stolen.

A preliminary review indicates that information may have been stolen from the Office of Judicial Administration files, district court case records on appeal and other data, some of which may have been confidential under state and federal law.

“A full review of what may have been stolen is a high priority to us but it will take time,” the Justices continued. “Once this review is complete, we will notify those affected. As we respond to this criminal attack, we will continue to update our incident response page.”

The Court indicated that while cyberattacks on government entities are rampant, they continue to pose a serious threat to domestic institutions. The 2022 FBI IC3 Internet Crime report found that the government is the third-most targeted sector for such attacks.

However, with the help of cybersecurity experts, judicial officials said the system will be fortified to guard against future attacks. It will likely take a few more weeks to return to normal operations, including electronic filing, however, it will get done.

“This assault on the Kansas system of justice is evil and criminal,” the Justices lamented. “Today, we express our deep sorrow that Kansans will suffer at the hands of these cyber criminals.”

Throughout the incident, the Supreme Court said decisions have been guided by foundational values which include upholding the rule of law. Officials hope to show that no malicious element is more powerful than the law and the institutions that follow it.