Australian Court Service Hacked, Hearing Recordings at Risk

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Court cases and tribunals in Australia have been impacted by a cybersecurity incident, with attackers potentially accessing recordings of hearings, according to the Court Services Victoria (CSV).

The CSV revealed the incident in a statement on January 2, 2024.

This public notice came some 12 days after the CSV was first alerted to the cyber incident on December 21, 2023. The CSV said that it took time to establish which recordings and transcripts were affected.

The incident resulted in unauthorized access to CSV systems, leading to audio visual in-court technology network being disrupted, including video recordings, audio recordings and transcription services.

While the agency immediately isolated and disabled the affected network, recordings of some hearings between November 1 and December 21, 2023, may have been accessed in the cyber-attack.

These include cases heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria, the highest court in the state.

It is also possible some hearings before November 1 that were stored on the network were accessed.

Protected Identities at Risk

Some of the compromised recordings may involve people whose identities are protected by court orders or legislation.

“We understand this will be unsettling for those who have been part of a hearing. We recognize and apologize for the distress that this may cause people,” said Louise Anderson, CEO of the CSV.

No further details have been given about the nature of the incident. The CSV is currently not aware of any recordings being released.

All courts are able to operate, having put in place arrangements so that they can continue to safely and securely while CSV re-establishes the affected network.

The agency said that no other court systems or records, including employee or financial data, were accessed in the attack.

It has notified all relevant authorities of the incident, including Victoria Police, who are assisting with the investigation and response.

The CSV is working on notifying people in hearings where recordings may have been accessed. It has also established a Contact Centre with dedicated staff which is available to those seeking further information or assistance.

The agency added that its efforts to strengthen security across the broader court and tribunal-wide technology environment encompass works to strengthen security across the broader court and tribunal-wide technology environment. 

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