On Sunday, the official website of Pennsylvania’s state courts agency was hit by a cyberattack, causing temporary disruptions to several online systems. Despite the attack, officials have reassured the public that there is no evidence of compromised data, and the courts remain open and accessible.
Chief Justice Debra Todd, addressing the incident, referred to it as a “denial of service” cyberattack, a term used by the federal government to describe situations where attackers overwhelm a network with traffic, rendering it unresponsive to legitimate users. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are actively investigating the matter.
As of the latest update, the following services have been affected by the Pennsylvania Cyber Attack:
- PACFile: The electronic filing system for the Pennsylvania Appellate Court, which is currently unavailable. However, filing offices continue to accept submissions in person or by mail.
- Guardianship Tracking System (GTS): A web-based application for managing guardianships, currently inaccessible. Filing offices are open for in-person or mail submissions.
- Web Dockets/Court Summaries: Online documents providing case information for appellate courts, the criminal division of common pleas courts, and magisterial district courts are temporarily unavailable online. Filing offices are open for alternative submission methods.
- PAePay: The online payment system for various court-related fees, fines, and restitution. While the system is down, payments can still be made via mail, in-person, or by contacting the court office for alternative methods.
- UJS Website Pages: Certain pages on the Unified Judicial System (UJS) website are affected. For court documents and information, individuals are advised to contact the Pennsylvania Courts spokesperson, Stacey Witalec, at (717) 877-2997.
- Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET): Partial unavailability, but warrant information remains accessible to law enforcement through NCIC and CLEAN.
- Police Forms and Citations: Law enforcement forms, including complaint and search warrants, are still available at the appropriate court filing office.
The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, responsible for managing the courts agency, has not yet identified the attackers or determined a motive. Additionally, there is no information on whether the cybersecurity measures in place were effective or if the attackers made any ransom demands. Investigations are ongoing, and further updates will be provided as the situation develops.