Dear Readers,

These days its increasingly important to be on the lookout for potential cyberattacks. Recently I came across one other example of why it is so

The Texas Office of Court Administration (OCA), the information technology (IT) provider for the appellate courts and state judicial agencies within the Texas Judicial Branch, identified a serious security event in the branch network, which was later determined to be a ransomware attack. A statement announcing the attack noted that it was first discovered in the early morning hours May 8. It stated that the attack is unrelated to the courts’ migration to remote hearings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Immediately upon discovery, OCA IT staff disabled the branch network
including websites and servers to prevent further harm,” the statement said. “The network has remained disabled since this time and will
continue to do so until the breach is remediated. OCA is working with law enforcement and the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR)
to investigate the breach. DIR and other information security authorities are providing assistance to OCA with recovery support. OCA was able to
catch the ransomware and limit its impact and will not pay any ransom. Work continues to bring all judicial branch resources and entities back
online. In the meantime, a temporary web site has been established with critical judicial branch information, including information concerning the
COVID-19 pandemic.

”It noted that in recent years, the majority of the Texas Judicial Branch entities supported by OCA moved many IT functions to the clouds, but have not been impacted by the attack. “This action will permit many of the courts and judicial branch agencies to continue operations and ensure that filing of documents can continue uninterrupted. At this time, there is no indication that any sensitive information, including personal information, was compromised. Additionally, due to the structure of the IT function within the state judiciary, individual trial court networks throughout the state were unaffected by the cyberattack,” the statement said.

The statement noted that judicial branch employees supported by OCA have received training in cybersecurity in recent weeks and will continue to receive updated training. As people continue to work remotely and fraudsters come up with new ways to perpetrate fraud, we at The Legal Description will be here to help.

Until next time, stay legal.
Andrea Golby
Editor, The Legal Description