THE UK’s criminal justice system has been plunged into chaos by a cyber attack on a top scientific testing firm.
Court cases were suspended as forensics services company Eurofins Scientific went into lockdown after a ransomware demand.
3 The National Crime Agency is hunting for the ‘highly sophisticated, well-resourced perpetrators’ behind the cyber attackCredit: Getty – Contributor
The attack involves a computer virus that stops users from accessing systems or files until a payment is made.
The action saw police chiefs suspend all forensic submissions to the company’s labs in England and Wales.
And the Information Commissioner was alerted as officers tried to reduce risks from samples in current cases.
‘THIS IS EXTRAORDINARY’
Chief Constable James Vaughan, from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Our priority is to minimise the impact on the justice system.
“We have put contingency plans in place.
“It is too early to fully quantify the impact but we are working at pace to mitigate the risks.”
The issue was highlighted in an attempted murder trial at Maidstone crown court, Kent.
Judge Philip Statman was told a “cyber-crime lockdown” was in force to ensure forensic material remained secure until the problem was resolved.
He called the situation, which may last several weeks, “an extraordinary state of affairs”.
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The National Crime Agency is leading the investigation into the hacking by “highly sophisticated, wellresourced perpetrators.”
Rob Jones, of the NCA, said: “We are securing evidence and forensically analysing infected computers. But due to the quantity of data involved and the complexity of these kinds of enquiries, this investigation will take time.”
Eurofins, based in Luxembourg, has 800 labs across 47 countries with testing centres in the UK at Middlesex, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire.
3 Chief Constable James Vaughan, from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said police are ‘working at pace’ to reduce the risks to ongoing criminal investigations and trials
3 The National Crime Agency is leading the effort to find who launched the attackCredit: Alamy
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