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RANSOMWARE ATTACK: Some courts services are back online

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development at the weekend announced it has made strides in recovering from the ransomware attack and had restored some services.

Since the ransomware attack occurred last month, several services have been unavailable including the web portal used to download court recordings for transcription purposes and the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS).

The ICMS is used at all courts, particularly the Office of the Master of the High Court.

The department said over the past few weeks its officials, industry specialists, and advisors from organs of state successfully contained the spread of the malware.

“A number of online services have been reactivated in a safe and secure manner,” said the department in a statement on Sunday.

“The team has also focused on ensuring that the payment of child maintenance money to beneficiaries is disrupted as little as possible.

“Another critical area that has been given high priority is the electronic recording of court proceedings to ensure that courts are able to operate as normal.”

The department said most of the recordings were intact and able to sync back to the central repository.

Where courts are still experiencing challenges, the department said a special capacity had been deployed to attend to queries on a case-by-case basis.

“The web portal that is used by transcribers to download court recordings for transcription purposes was successfully restored,” said the department.

Considerable progress has been made in restoring the ICMS, said the department, adding: “Parts of the system are already accessible, such as curatorship, and the online portals used for historic searches”.

The department said more work will be done in the next few days to complete the process of bringing back online functionality in respect of trusts, deceased estates and insolvencies.

Following finalisation of a high-level assessment in respect of the possible leak of personal information, and in line with the provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act, the department issued a notice on its website to its data subjects.

The department said it has strengthened security measures to protect sensitive personal information under its custodianship.

“Measures include upgrading our ICT security infrastructure and ensuring more stringent access control electronic and physical,” said  the department.

“The department would like to thank members of the public for their patience and understanding during this crisis period.”

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