Arizona Supreme Court at 1501 W. Washington St. in Phoenix. (Photo: Patrick Breen/The Republic)
The Arizona Judicial Branch is dealing with the aftermath of a ransomware attack against its internet service provider this week, according to a court spokesperson.
Aaron Nash, spokesperson for the Arizona Supreme Court, said that the impact appears to be limited to information connected with the azcourts.gov website and does not affect individual court or clerk’s offices.
The attack caused portals allowing people to access protective orders, defensive driving classes and seeking other information to be down for periods of time during the week.
The attack on the branch’s service provider, Managed.com, occurred Monday, according to a report by ZDNet. The company took down all of its servers to deal with the attack and some of its clients’ sites had their data encrypted.
The company is working with law enforcement to identify the attackers, but didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Arizona Republic.
Court Services Division sent numerous memos this week alerting Arizona’s legal community about the attack. The court stated in a Wednesday memo that no sensitive court data was stored on the hosting vendor’s servers.
Marcus Reinkensmeyer, director of the division, sent a memo on Thursday to presiding judges, clerks, justices of the peace and other court administrators stating the information technology department is working “with the hosting provider to restore all pages and services.”
Pages were restored throughout the day.
How is the court addressing priorities?
While the court fixes the problems, it is prioritizing services to restore with protective orders and defensive driving information coming first.
People who have AZPOINT accounts were not able to login for a period of time on Monday until that portion of the website was restored on Tuesday. The website is used to pre-start the filing process for a protective order. Law enforcement, members of the public and legal community are able to have accounts.
Before restoration, law enforcement, constables and others seeking to receive copies of orders needed to contact the issuing court.
It did not affect courts’ ability to assign law enforcement and constables to serve protective orders, however. The AZPOINT system is currently not allowing new registrations. The information technology team is working to solve the issue.
People seeking an order of protection can do so by visiting the AZCourtHelp.org website or visit their local courthouse.
“Getting the full functionality of AZPOINT back online is the highest priority,” Nash said.
Defensive driving schools are not allowed to have in-person classes due to the pandemic. Until problems with the website are fixed, people will not be able to register for online classes.
“If an individual planned to avoid court by taking the defensive driving course but didn’t complete the course before Monday, defensive driving will not be an option until the website is restored,” Nash said.
A person can go to court or file to request an extension. It will be up to the individual judge on if an extension will be granted.
People needing to find locations for local courts, forms for eviction-related materials and other resources, can visit AZCourtHelp.org.
Reinkensmeyer asked lower courts and administrators to update their websites with links that do properly work to help the public. An administrative order on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order regarding evictions was updated to not include the branch’s website.
Have thoughts about Arizona’s legal system? Reach criminal justice reporter Lauren Castle at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Lauren_Castle.
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