Pennsylvania Courts Face Cyberattack

Last month, the Pennsylvania Courts online system found itself in the crosshairs of a cyber attack. This assault not only disrupted vital services but also raised questions about the vulnerability of our digital infrastructure and the steps we must take to safeguard it.

The cyberattack, characterized as a denial of service attack, overwhelmed portions of the Pennsylvania Courts website, rendering them inaccessible. Chief Justice Debra Todd confirmed the compromise, underscoring the severity of the situation. She also noted that this incident is not isolated; similar attacks have targeted institutions across the globe. This is a threat that cannot be ignored.

Dave Hickton, former U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania and founder of Pitt Cyber at the University of Pittsburgh, likened the attack to a blitz in football, emphasizing the urgency of the situation. “Effectively, we’ve just lost use of the system,” he said. “That can be a prelude to bigger problems, but it’s an infrastructure attack against our court system so should be taken very seriously.”

While the courts reassured the public that there’s no indication of data compromise, the impact on services like PACFile, online docket sheets, PAePay, and the Guardianship Tracking System underscores the far-reaching consequences of cyber intrusions. Law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, have launched investigations to identify the perpetrators and mitigate further risks.

The aftermath of such attacks necessitates careful remediation efforts to ensure that vulnerabilities aren’t exploited further. Randy Rose of the Center for Internet Security cautioned against inadvertently exacerbating risks while addressing the issue. Moreover, the potential for personal computers to be unwittingly enlisted in cyberattacks highlights the need for robust cybersecurity measures at both individual and institutional levels.

It is clear that proactive steps must be taken to ensure your cybersecurity defenses are up-to-par. Changing passwords regularly, implementing dual-factor authentication, and exercising caution when interacting with email attachments are simple, yet significant measures you can take to mitigate risk.

You never think it is going to be your city, your school, your town, or your institution, but it has been proven time and time again that cyber criminals don’t discriminate. They will attack any institution that has valuable data. As our reliance on digital systems continues to grow, it becomes increasingly imperative for organizations and individuals alike to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding their networks and data. 

Cybersecurity can be overwhelming, but this is a good place to start…

Click HERE for a free threat assessment to see where there may be vulnerabilities in your system.


CBS article

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