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Personal information exposed during cyberattack on Colorado office

A Colorado state office announced Friday that some personal information of its clients was exposed during a cyberattack launched against the office's computer system more than a month ago. 

The Office of the Colorado State Public Defender first identified computer systems that were locked on Feb. 9. 

"Some data within our computer system was encrypted by malware," an office spokesman, Director of Legislative Policy and External Communications James Karbach, told CBS News Colorado on Feb. 12. "As a preventative measure, we temporarily disabled our computer network and are working to safely and securely bring systems back online. Our operations will be limited while the network is offline."

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Friday, an updated statement from the office provided new details about the extent of the damage. Although most public defender offices in the state have regained use, the computer system is not yet fully operational. Plus, an untold number of files were copied "in early February," per the office. Those files involved may include an individuals' name, Social Security number, driver's license or identification card number, other government identification numbers, medical information, and/or health insurance identification number.  

OSPD personnel, according to the office's statement, continue working to resolve the malware issues while simultaneously investigating how the malware incident was caused. Law enforcement has also been contacted. 

Also, the office is still in the process of determining the specific people whose information was exposed. Meantime, clients of the office were advised to watch for criminal attempts to steal their identity or gain access to their financial accounts, and to take steps if such activity was detected.    

OSPD also invited clients to write its downtown Denver office on South Broadway. 

The Office of the Colorado State Public Defender provides court-appointed legal representation to people charged with crimes who cannot afford their own attorney. 

Details about the extent of the impact to court cases were not released.

"If cases have been affected, we have worked to reschedule clients' hearings and trials to ensure they are provided fulsome and effective representation," OSPD's Zachary Brown stated in an email. "We will continue to do that if cases are impacted."

The office did not answer questions pertaining to any ransom paid as a result of the cyberattack, nor did it respond when asked if criminal evidence was among the files which were hacked. 

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