Adobe, Court Hackers Affect Up to 1 Million Washington State Residents

The Washington state court system has failed to protect personal data of as many as one million people.

Hackers have compromised the Washington state court system’s servers exploiting a vulnerability in Adobe’s ColdFusion app server.  This means personal data for up to one million residents, including access to at least 160,000 Social Security numbers.

The attacks affect residents who’ve been involved in three types of cases:

  1. Any type of traffic case that was filed in a district or municipal court from 2011 through 2012
  2. A DUI citation from 1989 through 2011
  3. A superior court criminal case in from 2011 through 2012 

ID-10074457 chanpipatTwo attacks were discovered last February and March of 2013, but state officials don’t know when the court system was hacked but suspect it was after September 2012.

The court system claims attackers had no access to financial information. But that’s a bogus conclusion any time Social Security and drivers’ license numbers are compromised.

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) issued a technical explanation: 

“Once the breach was discovered, AOC took immediate action to further secure the environment and begin investigation and analysis into the depth and severity of the breach. In addition, AOC collaborated with the Washington State Consolidated Technology Services (CTS) and the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) for internet security, who provided valuable information in determining the scope of this security breach. MS-ISAC is a focal point for cyber threat prevention, protection, response and recovery for the nation’s state, local, territorial and tribal governments. The MS-ISAC 24×7 cyber security operations center provides real-time network monitoring, early cyber threat warnings and advisories, vulnerability identification, and mitigation and incident response. AOC has implemented significant security enhancements to ensure that our systems and data are secure and to prevent the potential for future compromise.”

Look or an Adobe patch for a vulnerability on ColdFusion next week. Hopefully, it will protect against the courts’ flaw.

You can read the court system’s full explanation here.

From the Coach’s Corner, related security tips: 

“You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.”

-Scott McNealy


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of chanpipat at

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.