Ransomware attack forces Colorado public defenders to disable network

A cyberattack led the Colorado State Public Defender's office to shut down its network — the latest in a string of incidents disrupting local court systems.
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The Office of Colorado State Public defenders was forced to shut down its computer network on Monday, after officials became aware of malware-encrypted data within its system.

The “cybersecurity incident,” first reported by the Denver Post, is the latest in a string of cyberattacks that have impacted local courts systems nationwide. Last week, Pennsylvania‘s state court website suffered a distributed denial-of-service attack, which disrupted several of its computer systems, including online docket sheets and an electronic case document filing portal. The website for Kansas district court cases only recently came back online after an October 12 cyberattack that caused a months-long outage.

The Post reports that the cyberattack in Colorado, however, does not appear to have impacted the state’s judicial department or the court system.

As a result of the attack, public defenders, charged with defending those cannot afford private counsel, have been unable to access case information, prompting mass requests for postponements, which may create a backlog of cases across Colorado.


The public defender’s office did not say how long its computer system will be down or when the cyberattack occurred, multiple sources report.

Sophia Fox-Sowell

Written by Sophia Fox-Sowell

Sophia Fox-Sowell reports on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and government regulation for StateScoop. She was previously a multimedia producer for CNET, where her coverage focused on private sector innovation in food production, climate change and space through podcasts and video content. She earned her bachelor’s in anthropology at Wagner College and master’s in media innovation from Northeastern University.

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