Kansas judicial branch plans to restore online information systems by the end of the year after foreign cyberattack

photo by: Kansas Judicial Branch

The Kansas Supreme Court justices are pictured in this undated photo. Back row, left to right: Keynen "K.J." Wall Jr., Caleb Stegall, Evelyn Z. Wilson, Melissa Taylor Standridge; front row, left to right: Eric S. Rosen, Marla Luckert, Dan Biles.

The Kansas judicial branch announced on Tuesday a phased plan to reestablish digital filing and records systems by the end of the year after a foreign cyberattack in October compromised the statewide system and the court took the system offline for security purposes.

The plan starts with reconnecting counties to the Kansas eCourt case management system, which centralizes case data and provides a register of actions in each case, according to a release from the Office of Judicial Administration. The release did not specify what counties will be first to be reconnected but said that the system is expected to be in use by all counties except for Johnson County by the end of the year. Johnson County had not switched to the statewide management system prior to the cyberattack and is using a county specific system. Douglas County moved to the statewide system in April.

The second system to be reconnected will be the eFiling system, which is used by attorneys and justice partners to file documents electronically. Third to be restored will be the Kansas District Court Public Access Portal, which provides access to public district court case information online and is also used by Kansas residents to pay fines, fees and other costs online. A timeline is not specified for when the eFiling and public records systems will be reconnected, just that it will occur after the case management system is reestablished.

“To help us prepare our recovery timeline, we sought input from cybersecurity incident recovery experts,” Chief Justice Marla Luckert said in the release. “While we believe our estimate is realistic, we must be prepared for fluctuations as we move forward with our plan.”

The remaining systems include the Kansas Protection Order Portal, which handles online filings related to protection-from-abuse orders, stalking and human-trafficking; online marriage applications; and systems related to the appellate court. Those systems will be restored in the last phase of the plan, according to the release.

The cyberattack was first reported on Oct. 12, and courts across the state have had to rely on paper filings since. A terminal has been set up in Topeka at the Kansas Judicial Center, 301 SW 10th Ave., that residents can access by appointment to see court records prior to the shutdown, as the Journal-World reported.

The attack was described as “evil and criminal” by the Kansas Supreme Court earlier this month. The court said that “cybercriminals” stole data and threatened to post it to a dark website if their demands were not met. The court did not specify what demands had been made.


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