KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Attorneys working in Kansas will possibly need to dust off the old fax machine as state courts go paper-only in the wake of a security breach.
The Kansas Supreme Court continued a “hard copy” order Monday with a spokesperson telling FOX4 that they estimate electronic filing won’t be allowed for about two weeks.
The change will affect Kansas courthouses, including those in Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Douglas counties — and all the way up to the Kansas Supreme Court.
Attorneys and their staff will be required to file motions by hand, mail or fax, according to a news release.
It’s happening after what’s only been described as a security incident with staff “working with experts from several sources to find out what happened in the security incident, how it happened, and how far it reached,” according to the release.
“Until those questions are answered, the Office of Judicial Administration can’t predict when the systems will be brought back online,” the release says.
“It is a smart decision to go back to a paper system because it allows you to analyze and find out where the security holes are,” local tech expert Burton Kelso said.
“But you still have to conduct business as usual,” Kelso said.
And that’s part of the concern, including from some attorneys not wanting to pessimistically speak on the high court’s decision right away.
But the move could mean more labor and time commitments, including travel. At this point, it doesn’t appear the change will delay cases. However, some paperwork may have to be refiled on hard copy (and potentially refiled again when the eFile system reopens).
Johnson County, Kansas courts are not included in this decision. They are on a separate online filing system.
Details are still slim on the state issue, but there’s some speculation based on common hacking strategies, which are typically reliant on human error.
“We think that there is this large criminal organization that is just constantly getting into devices when in reality it’s just a series of phishing emails that go out,” Kelso said.
Read more here from the Kansas Judicial Branch about the ongoing issue.