Court Services Victoria Stares Down Ransom Demand

The breached technology captures court hearings, including those involving sensitive witnesses, and provides transcriptions for cases that may not be open to media coverage.
11 January 2024
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The Victorian government has made it clear that it will not pay a ransom to the hackers who breached its court recording system. This decision aligns with federal government advice to discourage hackers, but it opens the possibility that the stolen recordings, which may contain sensitive information, will be released.

Last week, Court Services Victoria, the agency responsible for administering the state's judicial system, confirmed the breach of its audiovisual technology. The hacker's identity remains unknown.

A spokesperson for the Victorian government stated that their practice is to not pay ransom demands. This breach affects the recording of hearings, including those with sensitive witnesses, and the delivery of case transcriptions that the media may not be allowed to cover.

According to Court Services Victoria, the breach occurred on December 8. The hackers sent a ransom note to the courts on December 21, boasting of their success. The agency immediately isolated and disabled the affected network upon discovery of the breach.

Potentially exposed recordings span from November 1 to December 21, including all criminal and civil hearings from the Victorian County Court. Additionally, hearings from December 1 to December 21 in the Supreme Court's criminal and court of appeal divisions may also be at risk.

Court Services assures that January hearings will proceed as scheduled and other court systems remain unaffected by the breach.

- CyberBeat


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