The Lead

Pennsylvania court system websites targeted by online attack

By: - February 5, 2024 12:55 pm

The Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg. (Capital-Star file)

Several websites belonging to the Pennsylvania court system were the target of an online attack Sunday that prevented access to court services, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

The AOPC reported that portions of the affected websites had been restored by Monday evening. The attack prevented access to PACFile, the state’s electronic court document filing system; PAePay, which allows the online payment of court fines and tickets; electronic docket sheets and the Guardianship Tracking System, which allows guardians for incapacitated adults to file required paperwork online. 

Work was ongoing to assess and restore access to online services that remained inaccessible Monday night, the AOPC said.

A denial of service attack happens when individuals with malicious intent use computer systems to overwhelm a website or network withyg traffic, preventing access by legitimate users, according to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

“Our court information technology and executive team is working closely with law enforcement including CISA, the U.S. Department of of Homeland Security and the FBI to investigate the incident,” Chief Justice Debra Todd said. 

“At this time there is no indication that any court data was compromised, and our courts will remain open and accessible to the public,” Todd said in a statement.

In a statement released by AOPC shortly before 1 p.m., Todd said there was still no indication that any court data had been compromised, and the courts remained open.

Update: This article was updated Feb. 5 at 7:53 p.m. with new information from AOPC.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Peter Hall
Peter Hall

Peter Hall has been a journalist in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for more than 20 years, most recently covering criminal justice and legal affairs for The Morning Call in Allentown. His career at local newspapers and legal business publications has taken him from school board meetings to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and many points of interest between. He earned a degree in journalism from Susquehanna University.