Court Services Victoria – Cyber Incident Information

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Thursday, 18 January 2024

A series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been developed in support of the cyber security incident:

 

Statement from the Chief Executive Officer of Court Services Victoria, Louise Anderson:

On 2 January 2024, Court Services Victoria (CSV) released a statement outlining a cyber security incident impacting Victoria's courts.

In it, we advised that audio-visual recordings of some hearings in courts between 1 November and 21 December 2023 may have been accessed and that it was possible that some hearings before 1 November could also have been accessed.

In many courts the system typically holds recordings for around 28 days, so the primary investigation period initially was 1 November to 21 December, which is when CSV identified the problem and isolated and disabled the affected network.

The incident impacted a single network that manages only audio-visual recordings for all courts and was contained to only that network.

Not all courts held hearings that were recorded on the impacted audio-visual network during that time frame. 

We remain sincerely apologetic for the distress that this may cause people who have been part of hearings during the identified timeframe, and we are committed to providing support to impacted people requiring assistance.

Update

The investigation remains ongoing, but CSV can confirm the recordings of some hearings in the Supreme Court, County Court and Coroners Court on the audio-visual system were prior to 1 November 2023. At this stage, there is no change to the date ranges for the Magistrates' Court and Children's Court and VCAT remains unaffected.  The date range of matters that may have been accessed is now as follows:

Jurisdiction Date range Hearings where recordings may have been accessed
Supreme Court Previously 1 December to 21 December 2023 and some individual matters in November 2023

Updated date range:
For matters heard in Supreme Court courtrooms in Melbourne dates remain 1-21 December 2023

For regional hearings and hearings in the County Court building the affected dates are now:
Ballarat- April 2016
Bendigo- August 2023
Shepparton-January, February, July and August 2023
Wodonga- October, November, December 2023
County Court- May, June, July, October, November, December 2023
Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, Practice Court and regional hearings.
County Court Previously 1 November to 21 December 2023.

Updated date ranges:
4-6 April 2016; 28 May 2019 to 21 December 2023.
The majority of hearings recorded on the network from 1 January 2023 to 21 December 2023.

Some hearings recorded on the network from 28 May 2019 to 1 January 2023 and 4-6 April 2016.
Magistrates' Court 1 November to 21 December 2023 Some committals that were heard during this period.
Children's Court  1 November to 21 December 2023 No hearings in the date range. A recording of one hearing in October which may have remained on the network.
Coroners Court  Previously 1 November to 21 December 2023.
 
Updated date range
5 August 2019 to 21 December 2023.
Some hearings from 5 August 2019 to 1 November 2023.

All hearings from 1 November to 21 December 2023.
VCAT N/A None.

The updated date ranges became apparent from Friday 5 January 2024 when CSV was able to analyse devices it had disabled on the affected audio-visual network. It took time to collect, analyse and verify this detailed and coded information from devices located in courtrooms in Melbourne and around Victoria. The date ranges vary based on a number of factors including storage capacity.

The Supreme Court, Magistrates' Court, Children's Court and Coroners Court will continue their efforts to identify and notify impacted parties. Due to the volume of impacted matters at the County Court the Court will focus their efforts on notifying parties in particularly sensitive matters. Please be assured that CSV and the Courts continue to work on this process as a matter of priority.

We sincerely thank Victoria Police, Victoria Legal Aid, the Office of Public Prosecutions, Corrections Victoria, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and other justice entities for their assistance with this process.

Support

CSV is not currently aware of any unauthorised publication of the recordings. Monitoring of this will continue.

If material is published, CSV will work together with relevant agencies to assist impacted people and provide support specific to their situation. 
We are very mindful of the distress any unauthorised publication may cause and we are committed to supporting those impacted if that occurs.

A Contact Centre with dedicated staff is available to those seeking further information or assistance. Contact Centre support is available by phoning 03 9087 6116 or emailing CSVData@courts.vic.gov.au.   
  
This includes support from IDCARE, Australia's national identity and cyber support community service. 

Recovery

Maintaining security for court users is our highest priority and we continue to work closely with cyber security experts to ensure our systems are safe and secure.

As CSV rebuilds and re-establishes the affected network, the technology underpinning it is being updated to strengthen security.  

CSV can confirm that after vigorous testing, video conferencing was re-established in most courts on 16 January 2024, enabling the return of hybrid hearings from Monday 22 January 2024. Transcription services are operational, however some delays are expected in the production of transcripts until systems are fully re-established. 

All courts continue to safely and securely hear matters and information about the mode of hearings can be obtained from the relevant court. 

For security reasons, CSV cannot comment on the specific details of some elements of our response to this cyber incident. However, we are committed to promptly sharing as much information as possible and encourage people to visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page, which is being updated regularly.


Previous media releases: 

This page was last updated: Thursday 18 January 2024 - 3:50pm