Ohio town working to restore municipal court systems after cyberattack

Date: 2023-01-24T14:51:01+00:00

Location: therecord.media

An Ohio town is investigating a cyberattack that has brought down the systems used by their court and may have accessed sensitive data.

Circleville Municipal Court told The Record that it recently discovered a cyberattack requiring its IT department to work with outside cybersecurity professionals. 

A spokesperson would not confirm whether the incident involved ransomware but the Circleville Municipal Court was added to the leak site of the LockBit ransomware group last week. The group claimed it stole 500 GB of data that included case information and gave the court a deadline of January 24 to pay a ransom.

“We are working around the clock with these experts to ensure that our systems are restored and back up and running as soon as possible. As part of our investigation, we are assessing the extent of any compromise of information as a result of this incident,” a court spokesperson said. 

“We are taking this matter very seriously and continue to take significant measures to protect the information entrusted to us.”

The town’s mayor and the Ohio governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment. Circleville has about 14,000 residents. 

The attack comes just weeks after another town in Ohio, Mount Vernon, said its police department, municipal court and other government offices were affected by a ransomware attack that started on December 19

Ohio has faced several other ransomware attacks over the last two years, including ones affecting dozens of local schools and others targeted at hospitals.

Ransomware groups have made a point of going after poorly-resourced local governments across the United States in 2022, targeting small governments in New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, New York and several other states.

The LockBit ransomware gang has quickly become the most prolific ransomware gang operating, launching hundreds of attacks last year on government agencies, companies and organizations around the world.

The group has caused particular outrage in recent weeks with attacks on Canadian children’s hospital, one of the biggest ports in Europe and a British postage and courier company.

Jonathan Greig is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.