- Florida’s First Judicial Circuit is continuing its investigation into a reported cybersecurity breach that affected court operations in Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties.
- It remains uncertain whether the breach compromised personal information within court records.
- The Circuit took prompt action to minimize potential risks, including shutting down court systems and initiating an investigation with law enforcement and cybersecurity experts.
- Ransomware group BlackCat has claimed responsibility for the breach, alleging access to personal data and a network map of the court’s systems, though records and data maintained by the clerks of the court in the mentioned counties were reportedly not impacted.
Florida’s First Judicial Circuit, comprised of Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties, is continuing its investigation into a reported cybersecurity breach, according to an update from the Florida Bar.
In light of the recent update, it remains uncertain whether the breach had any impact on the security of personal information within the court records. Kasey Watson, the Trial Court Administrator, revealed on Tuesday that once the breach was detected, the court promptly took action to minimize potential risks to sensitive data. The response included the shuttering of all court systems and initiating an investigation into the cyberattack in coordination with law enforcement agencies and external cybersecurity experts.
“As a result of the incident, certain applications used by the courts have been affected,” said Watson.
The update further clarifies that the records and data maintained by the clerks of the court in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties were not impacted.
Technology and cybersecurity news site StateScoop reported on Tuesday that ransomware group BlackCat has claimed responsibility for the breach. The report outlines the hackers’ alleged access to personal data and a network map of the court’s systems with local and remote service credentials. Last month, BlackCat was cited as the source of a cyberattack that shut down MGM resorts in Las Vegas.
When the breach was first detected on Oct. 2, the First Judicial Circuit stated that it significantly affected operations across the circuit, impacting courts in all four counties for an extended period with additional disruption to email and phone services.
“The extent of the breach remains under investigation,” the Circuit’s website reads, as of this afternoon. “In the meantime, with the invaluable assistance and cooperation of the Clerks of Court, the Office of the State Attorney, the Office of the Public Defender, and the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, along with other partner agencies, court hearings will continue as scheduled.”