Court Services Victoria – Cyber Incident

Statement from the Chief Executive Officer of Court Services Victoria, Louise Anderson:

On Thursday 21 December 2023, Court Services Victoria (CSV) was alerted to a cyber security incident impacting Victoria’s courts and tribunals.  

The cyber incident led to unauthorised access leading to the disruption of the audio visual in-court technology network, impacting video recordings, audio recordings and transcription services.

CSV took immediate action to isolate and disable the affected network and to put in place arrangements to ensure continued operations across the courts. As a result, hearings in January will be proceeding. 

Recordings of some hearings in courts between 1 November and 21 December 2023 may have been accessed. It is possible some hearings before 1 November are also affected. The potential access is confined to recordings stored on the network. Further details for each court are found below.

No other court systems or records, including employee or financial data, were accessed. 

Maintaining security for court users is our highest priority. Our current efforts are focused on ensuring our systems are safe and making sure we notify people in hearings where recordings may have been accessed. 

We understand this will be unsettling for those who have been part of a hearing. We recognise and apologise for the distress that this may cause people. CSV has established a Contact Centre with dedicated staff which is available to those seeking further information or assistance. This includes support from IDCARE, Australia’s national identity and cyber support community service. The Centre can be contacted from today via telephone or email:   

We are working closely with the cyber security experts in the Victorian Department of Government Services. All relevant authorities have been notified of the incident and are assisting with the investigation and response. 

All courts have put in place arrangements so that they can continue to safely and securely hear matters while CSV re-establishes the affected network. We appreciate the cooperation of court users during this period. 

The work on the restoration of systems includes works to strengthen security across the broader court and tribunal-wide technology environment.

With limited exceptions, court and tribunal hearings are held in public and are not confidential. The unauthorised use of recordings of hearings is not permitted. 

The table below sets out which recordings of hearings may have been accessed. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the cyber incident that’s happened?

Court Services Victoria (CSV) became aware on Thursday 21 December of a cyber incident that impacted in-court audio and video (AV) systems.

During the incident, there was unauthorised access to CSV’s audio visual in-court technology network.

Recordings of some hearings in courts and tribunals between 1 November and 21 December 2023 may have been accessed. It is possible some hearings before 1 November are also affected.

The potential access is confined to video and audio recordings stored on the network. Other court records are not impacted.

This table below sets out which hearings may have been impacted:

Have you contained the cyber incident?

Yes. CSV took immediate action to isolate and disable the affected network and to put in place arrangements to ensure continued operations across the courts.

The audio-visual network is separate to other CSV systems.

No other court systems or records were accessed or impacted.

What does this mean for people who attended court hearings during this period?

Court user audio only or audio and video recordings of what was said in a hearing may have been accessed.

Court and tribunal hearings are mostly public, and not confidential.

CSV has been working with justice system agencies, such as Victoria Police, Victoria Legal Aid and the Office of Public Prosecutions on areas where there may be particularly sensitive material.

Will I be contacted and how will I be contacted?

Where possible, courts are notifying parties whose hearing may have been affected.

Who can I talk to about my concerns?

CSV has established a Contact Centre with dedicated staff which is available to those seeking further information or assistance. This includes support from IDCARE, Australia’s national identity and cyber support community service. The Centre can be contacted during business hours from Tuesday 2 January 2024 via telephone or email:  

Call: 03 9087 6116
Email: CSVData@courts.vic.gov.au

Will my upcoming court case be affected by this incident?

All courts have put in place plans so that they can continue to safely and securely hear matters.

Some changes to hearing arrangements are in place while the affected network remains disabled. Information about any changes can be obtained from the relevant court.

If you have a question about an upcoming court case and how this might be affected, please contact the relevant registry

What has been done to secure CSV’s IT systems?

CSV took immediate action to isolate and disable the affected network and arrangements were put in place to ensure continued secure operations across the courts.

What are you doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

The work on the restoration of systems includes works to strengthen security across the broader court and tribunal-wide technology environment.

Who is responsible for the breach?

We don’t provide information or details on cyber threat actors.

How can I make a complaint about how this incident was handled?

Please email privacy@courts.vic.gov.au if you wish to raise any concerns.

Have financial records and employee data been accessed or otherwise impacted?

No. No other court systems or records, including employee or financial data, were accessed.

Have those responsible for the hack made any demands of Court Services Victoria? Have any threats been made to release the recordings? 

For security reasons, we will not comment on the specific details of our response to this cyber incident. 

Are police investigating and what assistance are the courts receiving from government security agencies? 

CSV has notified the relevant authorities, including Victoria Police whose cybercrime squad is investigating. 

We are working closely with the cyber security experts in the Victorian Department of Government Services. 

We have also secured support from IDCARE, Australia’s national identity and cyber support community service. 

Why was a statement released on 2 January when the courts first became aware of the incident on 21 December? 

CSV took immediate action to disable the network and notify the relevant authorities. 

It was not immediately apparent which recordings and transcripts were affected. It has taken time to establish this. 

How were the courts alerted to the cyber security incident? 

Computers used to control audiovisual court hearings were disrupted. 

Some compromised recordings may involve people whose identities are protected by court orders or legislation. What is being done?  

CSV has been working with justice system agencies to identify sensitive matters. Courts are notifying parties whose hearings may have been affected and those parties can discuss any specific concerns at that time. CSV has also partnered with IDCARE, Australia’s national identity and cyber support community service, to work with people to address their concerns.  

CSV is not currently aware of any recordings being released but will notify the relevant authorities should this occur. Maintaining security for court users is our highest priority and we recognise and apologise for the distress this incident may cause.  

Can you clarify when the incident occurred? 

While we became aware on 21 December, the incident occurred on 8 December. It was a breach of a single system that manages only audio-visual recordings for all courts and was contained to only that system. It is a single courts-wide solution managed centrally.

The system holds recordings for around 28 days, so the primary investigation period is 1 November to 21 December, which is when we identified the problem, and isolated and disabled the affected network.

Not all courts held hearings that were recorded on the impacted audio-visual network during the affected time frame.

This page was last updated: Thursday 4 January 2024 – 2:04pm

Source:Court Services Victoria

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