Ransomware attack 'especially disruptive' to appellate courts including Texarkana

TEXARKANA, Texas - A ransomware attack on Texas Office of Court Administration earlier this month has been "especially disruptive" to the appellate courts, including the 6th District Court of Appeals in Texarkana.

A security breach later determined to be ransomware was identified on May 8. Since then the OCA's website and sites for the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court and all appellate courts have been offline.

The OCA established a new website with some information as a patch but much of the information on the old site is not accessible.

"As the investigation and identification of the breach draws to a close, OCA has shifted fully to repair and recovery of the network," an update issued Monday evening by the OCA states. "The Texas Appellate Management and eFiling System (TAMES), a case management system that contains the information and documents for the appellate courts, has been unavailable to the courts."

With TAMES temporarily unavailable, many of the appellate courts cannot access records, electronic files and documents including most information pertaining to pending cases.

"In the short term, some, but not all of the courts of appeals, may be relying on trial court clerks, attorneys and litigants to provide needed documents," the OCA said Monday.

Regular backups of data have led to "several backup restoration projects" being under way. The state's electronic filing portal, eFile Texas, and statewide document retrieval portal, re:SearchTx, were not impacted so filers have been able to continue to submit documents. Individual trial court networks were not affected.

A lack of connectivity while OCA's network is down has hindered accessibility.

"OCA anticipates recovery to continue for several weeks, and systems will become available at various times over the next several days and weeks," the OCA said Monday.

OCA is working with state and federal law enforcement, Texas Department of Information Resources, Texas Department of Public Safety cybersecurity team and other cybersecurity experts.

A second agency in the state, Texas Department of Transportation, reported a cyberattack on its systems that occurred Friday. Most of the site is up and running, though some features are temporarily unavailable.

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