The Administrative Office of the Courts has restored its homepage after hackers attacked its network last weekend.

Georgia courts website back online after ransomware hack

The homepage of a Georgia courts agency has been restored after its network was crippled by hackers who demanded a ransom payment.

The Administrative Office of the Courts brought its main website, georgiacourts.gov, online Thursday after it had been shut down since last weekend.

But other court services remained offline, including case management applications used by local courts. Websites for a child support calculator and the Judicial Council of Georgia were also unavailable.

Hackers infected computers at the Administrative Office of the Courts with malware, encrypting files and demanding a ransom payment to restore them. The courts agency found a text file that had been left by the hackers with instructions to contact them. The message didn't specify a ransom amount.

The agency is working to restore case management systems used by “a small minority” of courts, said spokesman Bruce Shaw. 

“This could result in affected courts reverting to a paper process,” Shaw said. “Our initial goal is to restore these services to avoid any possible delays to the public caused by temporarily reverting to a paper process.”

He didn't identify the courts and applications that have been affected, saying that information could aid bad actors.

The Administrative Office of the Courts is part of the Georgia's court system, with about 60 full-time employees. It maintains court documents, provides computer applications to some local courts and publishes guidance on court operations.

It's unclear how long it will take to fully restore the agency's network. The Administrative Office of the Courts is posting a link to the child support payment worksheet until the child support calculator website is restored.

“Every single line of code has to be reviewed,” said spokeswoman Aimee Maxwell on Friday. “We are working on getting the subdomains from the website up, but each one of those has to go thru a full security threat assessment.”

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