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Computer Virus Has Thrown Philadelphia's Court System Into Chaos


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The Philadelphia Courthouse clock tower.

A computer virus has crippled Philadelphia's online court system for more than three weeks.

Credit: Josh Self

As Baltimore continues to deal with a malware attack, a computer virus has crippled Philadelphia's online court system for more than three weeks, raising issues about how cities can respond when essential services are suddenly cut off.

Courts blame the problem on malware infecting "a limited number" of computers, which shut down the system as a precautionary measure.

In addition to preventing electronic filing of court documents, the virus has blocked jury-duty signups, taken the court website offline, and temporarily closed the court email system.

The outage is forcing attorneys to file paperwork in person, and Community Legal Services lawyer Rachel Gallegos warned a judge that "basic due process protections" are being curtailed, preventing homeowners from filing for foreclosure postponements, for example.

The courts said they have contracted with a cybersecurity company to investigate the problem, but disclosing additional information "could jeopardize the remediation process."

From The Verge
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