The Superior Court of Justice (STJ), one of the four highest courts in Brazil, called the Federal Police on Tuesday (3) to investigate the occurrence of a hacker attack on its systems. Today (5), a source linked to the court told Bastidor that this is a very serious situation, with the entire database of the court encrypted, completely inaccessible to citizens and court officials.
Bastidor also says that third-party companies, as well as the PF, are trying to decrypt the STJ servers, but there does not seem to be any indication at the moment that the hired technicians will be able to carry out the task in the coming days. The situation is even worse because even the Court’s backups were encrypted by the criminals.
As a result, the STJ is completely in the dark at the moment, without access to an immense and historic collection of lawsuits. The attack is certainly the most serious one that has ever been triggered by a Brazilian state institution in the country’s history.
According to information from G1, a report from the Court’s technology area, obtained by TV Globo, revealed that an unavailability of the system that occurred around 3 pm on Monday (2) determined the interruption of the trials. The court’s technicians identified an external attack and began to assess the extent of the damage.
At first, a check was made on the internal network protection system, but then the technicians verified that the source of the error was the server where almost all STJ systems are hosted. Only at night, a file with characteristics compatible with a virus, created a few minutes before, was detected.
The technical report clarifies that a new analysis, this time carried out by the equipment manufacturer’s support, confirmed that the failure occurred because of a cyber attack, which compromised the integrity of the system files. Since the attack, all of the Court’s systems have been inoperable, including e-mail communications.
Later, new attacks were discovered, whose destination would be the backup area of the systems, according to the document. So, it was determined that the STJ’s internet access links and the blocking of all users who had used the network in the last 24 hours were dropped.
At the moment, technicians are working to recover the system, using backups stored on tapes. During the pandemic, all STJ trial sessions are being held by videoconference.
Minister Humberto Martins, who assumed the presidency of the Court last August, sent a message to the other ministers, canceling all virtual and / or videoconferencing trial sessions, until security in the court’s data traffic is restored.
Martins also recommended to ministers and civil servants that they avoid turning on computers with any type of connection to the Court’s computerized systems, even personal ones, and even e-mails should be avoided until the situation normalizes.