The Cyberattack on the US Justice System Was Worse Than We Thought

A cyberattack incident involving the infrastructure of the US federal justice system has proven to be an “incredibly large and sophisticated” attack.

This statement is significantly different from the one originally provided when the situation arose in 2020.

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As reported by TechRadarthe attack itself was confirmed in January 2021 via a Judiciary Committee hearing, with its chairman Jerrold Nadler stating that a data breach was indeed successfully carried out by threat actors.

Upon further investigation, it appears the cybersecurity event had considerably more impact than the government had originally discovered.

Nadler pointed out that the committee only began to uncover “the startling magnitude and scope of the court records management system security failure” in March 2022.

“And perhaps even more concerning is the disturbing impact of the security breach on ongoing civil and criminal litigation, as well as ongoing national security or intelligence matters,” he continued.

He also said the hack had “lingering impacts on the department and other agencies.”

A Justice Department official was asked about the type of investigations, types of cases and attorneys most affected by the breach. However, the individual was unable to provide an adequate response. “This is, of course, a significant concern for us given the nature of the information often held by the courts,” he added.

Digital representation of a laptop hacked by a hacker.
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Another government figure, Sheila Jackson Lee, claimed that uncovering the true impact of the attack is a “dangerous set of circumstances”. Lee said the Justice Department should share more information on the matter, such as the number of cases that have been influenced in any capacity, in addition to the number of those cases that have been outright rejected.

TechRadar points out that this specific cybersecurity incident is not believed to be related to the SolarWinds attack, even though they both materialized around the same time in 2020.

For reference, the SolarWinds attack went down in history as one of the most impactful supply chain cyberattacks. The group and individuals behind the incident managed to extract Microsoft 365 login credentials from SolarWinds employees via phishing methods, as detailed by TechRadar.

An exposed patch was then deployed by threat actors to hundreds of thousands of endpoints, which saw government agencies and several tech giants bear the brunt of the impact.

In related government cybersecurity news, a bug bounty program revealed how one of the largest US government departments – Homeland Security – discovered more than 100 security vulnerabilities in external DHS systems.

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