'Unsettling': Hackers break into court recordings database

Victoria’s court system has been hit by a cyber-attack, with hackers accessing several weeks of recorded hearings.

Court Services Victoria (CSV) was first made aware of the attack on 21 December but it is believed the audio-visual technology network was first compromised on 1 November.

Video and audio recordings of some hearings in the supreme, county, magistrates and coroner’s courts were accessed over the seven-week period, CSV’s chief executive, Louise Anderson, said on Tuesday.

An October recording from the children’s court, which has strict restrictions to protect the identities of minors, was also likely affected.

“The potential access is confined to recordings stored on the network,” Anderson said in a statement.

“No other court systems or records, including employee or financial data, were accessed.

The affected network was isolated and disabled to ensure operations could continue across the courts, Anderson said.

Witnesses and other participants in hearings where recordings may have been accessed will be notified, while a dedicated support contact centre has been set up.

“We understand this will be unsettling for those who have been part of a hearing,” Anderson said.

“We recognise and apologise for the distress that this may cause people.”

Recordings of some supreme court hearings – including in the court of appeal – and multiple committal hearings in the magistrates courts were among those that may have been compromised.

All county and coroner’s courts hearings recorded on the network may also have been affected.

Arrangements have been made so hearings can continue while CSV re-establishes the affected network, Anderson said.

Security across the broader court and tribunal-wide technology system will be strengthened as part of the restoration work.

The acting Victorian premier, Ben Carroll, said Victoria police were also working closely with CSV.

“If anyone has any evidence, they are encouraged to come forward,” he said on Tuesday.

“But I know, from my advice this morning, that this has been … a hack that has been well contained.”

Carroll said it was important for government agencies to remain vigilant in the face of a growing number of cyber-attacks.