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Home / cyberattack

Cyberattack targets Orange County District Attorney’s Office

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office was targeted by a cyberattack, prompting a shutdown of its information technology system, the office announced Monday, but the perpetrator of the hack was still unknown.

The attack occurred Friday, according to a statement from the office, which insisted that immediate action was taken to shut down the IT system and “prevent further intrusion into our system or other related systems.”

It was unclear exactly what type of information may have been accessed by hackers.

“To contain any effects of the cybersecurity incident, we isolated our network communications,” according to the OCDA’s office. “The District Attorney’s Office immediately coordinated with partner agencies, including all law enforcement entities in Orange County, including the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Insolating the effects of a cybersecurity incident is a best practice recommended by cybersecurity subject matter experts and the professionals responding to this incident.

“OCDA immediately began working with a third-party expert to assist in identifying any vulnerabilities in our information technology systems. OCDA staff has been working around-the-clock to ensure continuity of operations with our critical services and functions.”

Officials said the office is “continuing to mitigate and reduce impacts to public services.”

“We are coordinating with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to identify the perpetrators so they can be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” according to the DA’s Office.

Kostas Kalaitzidis, a spokesman for the Orange County Superior Court, issued a statement saying, “We were informed of technical and operational challenges faced by our justice partners this past Friday. Members of the court’s team worked tirelessly through the weekend in assisting our justice system stakeholders to overcome their challenges, to the degree we are able, by providing them with information, and by implementing manual processes until their issues are resolved. At this time, the court remains open and continues to operate.”

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Wagner said he was hopeful the issues can be cleared up soon.

“We are still doing some investigations and we don’t know the full extent of it, but I’m optimistic from what I’m hearing that we caught it early and managed to isolate it to the DA’s office, and the incursion didn’t get into the county and the incursion into the sheriff is very limited,” Wagner said.

“We are looking at several more days of investigation and forensic digging,” Wagner said. “But our folks are on it.”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department shut down its email connection with the District Attorney’s Office and the breach does not appear to have affected the sheriff’s system, said Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the department.

An official, who asked not to be identified, said the sheriff and district attorney have their own systems apart from the county’s system. There has been no ransomware demand so far and no virus has been uncovered. It could take another week or two to fully investigate the breach, the official said.

Updated Oct. 24, 2023, 2:42 a.m.

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