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Computer virus prompts to shut down the court websites and programs


Websites as well as computer programs that are linked to the court system of Philadelphia were shut down since the afternoon of May 21, 2019, according to sources. Philadelphia Courts tweeted on May 22, 2019, that "we are currently experiencing network issues with our website. We are working to restore connectivity. We apologize for the inconvenience".


"The First Judicial District has experienced a virus intrusion on a limited number of computers," said Mike Dunn, the city spokesperson, in a statement on May 23, 2019. Dunn said that in order to safeguard the other systems, the district along with Innovation and Technology Office of the city has "shut down certain court IT functions to fully review and clean the operating systems. This is a necessary step to contain the virus".


Dunn has added that this attack was neither a ransomware attack nor a data breach. All the court proceedings are going on as scheduled.


Some computer operating systems along with websites - the online civil docket search and the website of First Judicial District - have been inoperable because of precautions. Online criminal dockets are still accessible, as they are on statewide portal system.


The cautionary shutdown has also affected the electronic programs, which includes eFiling system for the criminal as well as civil cases, used by the attorneys to file petitions, pleadings, and motions. Additionally, the public Criminal Document Management System that allows individuals to access the court filings at the public computers in Stout Center for Criminal Justice has also been inaccessible.


During shutdown, the court staffers were not able to access the work email. Till May 23, 2019, it can't be said when the websites as well as computer programs would be up and running again.


Defense attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. said on May 23, 2019, that his office regularly uses eFiling system. "With the system down, we've simply had our couriers delivering motions to the court," he said.


On May 23, 2019, the court system has tweeted notices that asks people wanting to file the documents to remain patient. It says that the emergency civil filings could be made in Room 296 of City Hall in person, whereas criminal filings could be made at Office of Judicial Records in Stout Center in person.


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