Last Thursday (July 28), a senior U.S. government official testified on Capitol Hill that the Justice Department is investigating a data breach dating back to early 2020 that victimized the U.S. federal court system. A few days ago, the US federal court is carrying out emergency data disaster recovery.
During the nightmarish hearing, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told lawmakers that “three hostile foreign hackers” had attacked the filing systems of U.S. courts. The attack resulted in a breach of “system security” as part of a security incident in early 2020. The revelation at a hearing of the Justice Department’s National Security Sector Oversight Committee is also the first time the hack has been exposed.
Nadler said the committee learned of the “staggering breadth and reach” of the attack in March, and that it was two separate incidents from the SolarWinds attack disclosed in late 2020. According to Security Insider, the United States attributed the SolarWinds incident to hackers supported by the Russian government. At that time, the networks of more than a dozen U.S. federal agencies were hacked, and the federal court system was also not spared.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen testified to the committee that the Justice Department’s national security unit “is working closely with judicial conferences and judges across the country to resolve this issue,” and pledged to Keep the Committee informed of updates as the investigation progresses.
Nadler’s questioning came after the Judiciary Committee was briefed on the attack, a committee aide said. “This could have a wide-ranging and staggering impact on the operations of the Department of Justice,” the aide also noted, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the committee, pressed Olson to provide a specific number of cases in the attack.
Jackson Lee said, “I hope you are prepared so that we can obtain information about the attack as soon as possible in the appropriate environment. The current situation is very critical, the incident has been publicly disclosed, and we need to understand how many [cases] … have been leaked. .”
Nadler asked Olson whether the breach would have an impact on the case being pursued by the Justice Department’s national security division, and Olson testified that “there would be no particular impact.”
Sen. Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the U.S. Courts Administration Office on Thursday expressing “serious concerns” about the “concealment” by the federal judiciary (from Congress and the public) about the data breach.
“The federal judiciary has not publicly explained what happened and has repeatedly denied requests to Congress for unclassified briefings,” Wyden wrote in the letter.
Asked for more details about the breach, Wyden said he “couldn’t discuss it further”, citing fears of “a conflict with the secrecy system.”
The U.S. court system already issued a statement in January 2021 acknowledging that its case management/electronic case filing system (CM/ECF) was compromised in a large-scale breach. As a result, the procedures for submitting highly sensitive documents have been adjusted and are currently only allowed to be submitted through paper documents, secure electronic devices, or secure computer systems.
David Sellers, a spokesman for the U.S. Office of the Administration of Courts, noted on Thursday that the January 2021 statement had already mentioned “a significant threat to the judiciary’s electronic case management system.” Sellers said the U.S. court subsequently Protection measures have been taken to the network, including working with the Department of Homeland Security to address vulnerabilities, and a judicial IT security working group has been established to recommend ways to further strengthen security.
Sellers said, “Cybersecurity is one of our top priorities. We will continue to work closely with our Administration partners to take precautions to protect our systems and participate in modernizing our existing case management/electronic case filing systems. .”
Justice Department spokesman Luis Rossello declined to comment on the case, as did FBI spokesman Manali Basu.
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