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Cook County circuit clerk’s website may not be fully functional for a ‘few weeks’

The problem started with a breach on Aug. 13.

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Iris Martinez’s website has been down since Aug. 13, following a security breach. It could be some time before it’s back up and running.
Cook County Circuit Clerk Iris Martinez’s website has been down since Aug. 13 after a security breach.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

If you were hoping to look up a case on the clerk of the circuit court of Cook County’s website, you may be out of luck for a few weeks.

The website has been down since Aug. 13 after a breach that directed users to an NFL-related website, court staff said.

“The unauthorized activity was limited in both duration and scope. There is no ransomware request associated with this unauthorized activity,” according to a statement from the clerk’s office.

“The Circuit Court clerk’s office does confirm that personal information provided by the public via the website, court records contained in the case management system, and all other Circuit Court Clerk’s Office applications and data were not impacted.”

The website has been taken down for maintenance and security upgrades, said Patrick Hanlon, a spokesman for the clerk’s office. And while the work is “all hands on deck,” Hanlon couldn’t predict just when the website might be up and running.

“We’re going through the auditing and review process now, and we’re hoping some time in September,” Hanlon said. “You want to make sure your security functions and [the breach] can’t be done again.”

Click on the clerk’s website and you’ll find phone numbers for various services and court departments, as well as online links, Hanlon said. Asked if there are enough people in the clerk’s office to handle the phone calls, Hanlon said he hadn’t heard any complaints of callers being backed up.

“I’m not being told someone is sitting on the phone for half an hour. If that’s the case, I want to know so that we can add more people,” Hanlon said.