Public defender’s office in Southwest Florida hit by ‘malware intrusion’

Reporter: Sara Girard
Published: Updated:
Lee County Justice center and courthouse downtown fort myers
Lee County Justice center and courthouse. Credit: 20th Judicial Circuit.

A malware attack has hit the 20th Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office, according to Public Defender Kathleen Smith.

She confirmed they’re “recovering from a malware intrusion” that started late last week.

Malware is software that allows someone to illegally access and or damage a computer system.

Smith told me their offices are open and operational and efforts to restore service are happening right now.

They’ve hired a cybersecurity team to “Determine the scope of the intrusion.” There’s no word on what information if any might’ve been compromised at this point.

The circuit covers Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.

There has been no response yet on how long it might take before it’s fixed.

An attorney we spoke to said he’s heard public defenders haven’t been able to access their case files.

Some are worried this could cause delays or keep people in jail longer, on top of a year already plagued with issues from COVID-19.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.