TOPEKA, Kan. (KAKE) – A ransomware attack on the Kansas judicial system back in October rocked the state.

On Wednesday, state lawmakers, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court discussed how Kansas can be more cyber secure. Kansas lawmakers are saying that all three branches of state government need to cooperate better to protect your information.

“Before dawn on October 12, affiliates of a Russian-based ransomware group infiltrated the computer system of the Kansas judicial branch,” Kansas Chief Justice Marla Luckert said in Wednesday’s State of the Judiciary address. “In doing so, they attacked one of the foundational institutions of our democratic society.”

Luckert said court officials are still working to get the court system completely up and running after last fall’s ransomware attack from Russian-based hackers. She said that although the system isn’t completely restored, the last of the court’s districts should have their e-filing systems fixed in the next couple of weeks. She told reporters after her speech she expects criminal charges to be filed.

“We have cooperated with the FBI, with the federal CISA, and others, giving them information. Of course, any of that, that would be left to the US attorney and others, local prosecutors to decide.”

Luckert told the gathered lawmakers that all branches of government need to work together to ensure cybersecurity.

Representative Barb Wasinger chairs the House Modernization Committee, which heard from federal and state IT security experts Wednesday. They said using national standards, the legislature’s IT system security ranks just a 1.4 to 1.8 on a 5 point scale.

“You can’t fight a battle when you don’t know who the enemy is,” Wasinger said. “What the NIST standards help you do is identify your most vulnerable areas. We have tossed around, and this is kind of a dream, that we require everyone that works for the state of Kansas, every department to get their NIST standards to three or above, within the next year and a half or two years.”

Democratic ranking member Jerry Stogsdill agrees that something needs to be done to protect the state government from cyberattacks in the future, saying he’s hopeful lawmakers can get something done about it this session. 

“I think this is new across the country,” Stogsdill said. “Hackers and foreign entities and so on, are getting much more sophisticated about that. As that happens, we have to keep up with that. I think the state is committed to doing just exactly that.”

The Modernization Committee heard from the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security agency, who Wasinger says they want to work closely with as the session progresses.