US Court System downed by technical glitch, not hackers

US Court System downed by technical glitch, not hackers

Summary: UPDATED 2: The U.S. Court system was taken down Friday afternoon for several hours by a suspected denial-of-service attack. The FBI challenged such claims on Saturday.


On Friday afternoon, a technical glitch brought down the U.S. Court System.

An initial report from The Washington Post cited a federal court clerk claiming the outage was caused by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. However, as we first reported, there was little verification for it at the time. 

A group calling itself the European Cyber Army claimed responsibility on Twitter, but did not offer any more detail on the alleged attack.

Several sites were affected, including both the public web site for the courts and PACER, an electronic public access service that allows users to "obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts."

As of Friday evening, all sites appeared to be functioning.

An FBI spokeswoman said the agency was reassessing its initial position as the facts are being reviewed. "The FBI is prepared to assist the U.S. Federal Courts if necessary," she said in an email to ZDNet.

However, a government official familiar with the matter said the suggestion of a denial-of-service attack remained possible and that its assessment has not changed as it was on Friday — in conflict with the FBI's statement on Saturday.

Editor's note on January 25 at 3:15 p.m.: Added new information from a report by The Wall Street Journal on Saturday, citing an unnamed FBI spokesperson. The headline was updated to correct the initial reporting.

Updated on January 25 at 9:40 p.m.: With updated FBI statement and with additional government source material.

Topics: Security, Government US

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    "a federal court clerk from Arkansas"

    What a great and reliable news source to quote from! I didn't know that any fed and especially any from down south even knew what the internet was.

    Seriously, this is just a classic DDOS on much of the infrastructure of the internet. Why not? It has the effect of focusing people on their navels.
    • If he knows the clerk...

      ...he won't be able to tell Larry about courthouses in the rest of the country, but will be able to speak about the one in Little Rock (which may be all that's required).
      John L. Ries
  • Errrrr

    So they went after the Court System. Run by a bunch of lawyers. What's the jokes about dead lawyers? :-)
    The European Cyber Army? That would be a first. Outside of the EU parliament and related, I'm not sure if anybody works together in Europe. Probably just another dumb name. Waiting for the SCEA to strike - that's the Senior Citizens Electronic Army. Or maybe GAG - Grannies Against Government.
  • America

    Knowing what this country has lied about to all of us recently it's 50/50 if this could be the truth these days.