Recordings and transcripts from highly sensitive court proceedings may have been accessed by hackers after a state’s court system was breached.

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One of the country’s biggest court systems has suffered an “unsettling and distressing” cyber attack, with hackers potentially getting hold of sensitive information from hundreds of court proceedings.

Court Services Victoria (CSV) revealed the courts were hit by a ransomware attack, with hackers gaining access to the audiovisual technology network just before Christmas.

Hackers gained access to video and audio recordings as well as transcriptions of court proceedings from November 1 and December 21.

There are now fears recordings from hearings, including witness testimony from highly sensitive cases, may have been accessed or stolen.

Recordings may have been accessed from Supreme Court hearings between December 1 and December 21, the Court of Appeal’s criminal division, practice court and regional hearings in November.

All criminal and civil hearings in the County Court were also accessed, some committals in the Magistrates’ Court, all hearings in the Coroners Court and one hearing in the Children’s Court in October.

CSV chief executive Louise Anderson on Tuesday said it was possible some hearings before November were also affected by the hack.

“The cyber incident led to unauthorised access leading to the disruption of the audiovisual in-court technology network, impacting video recordings, audio recordings and transcription services,” Ms Anderson said in a statement.

The attack was discovered on December 21 when staff were locked out of computers and the screen read “YOU HAVE BEEN PWND”.

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