The News Today
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6.20.19
Viral Foreclosure

Malware Shut Down Philadelphia Court System for Weeks

June 11th 19__Victor Tangermann__Filed Under: Future Society
Bruce Emmerling/Victor Tangermann

Virus Shutdown

First, the city of Baltimore was held hostage by cybercriminals. Now it’s Philadelphia’s turn.

A computer virus has completely brought Philadelphia’s online court system to its knees since May 21, The Verge reports. Document filing systems, email servers, and the court’s website were taken down as a precautionary measure.

Little other information has come to light — likely an attempt to keep details of court proceedings from leaking to the public. But it doesn’t bode well for municipalities that often have very little in the way of protection from cyber attacks.

Risk of Losing Homes

Most vulnerable are Philadelphia residents trying to delay a bank from foreclosing on their homes. Postponement filings to delay the repossessions are in danger of getting caught up in the chaos, according to The Verge.

“Can they navigate a system that’s already under a lot of stress?” Rachel Gallegos, a civil legal aid attorney asked The Verge. “It’s just chaotic.”

No End in Sight

But for now, there’s no end in sight.

“There is no definitive timetable for when these services will be fully operational; however, we will continue to provide updates as they become available,” the Philadelphia Courts wrote in a public notice on May 31.

“We do ask that due to our system still not functioning at its optimal ability you are patient with the staff,” the Philadelphia court system wrote in a tweet yesterday.

READ MORE: A computer virus has thrown Philadelphia’s court system into chaos [The Verge]

More on ransomware: Cybercriminals Are Holding an Entire US City Hostage