The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a data breach that involves the federal court records management system. 

According to Reuters, Matt Olsen, head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, alluded to the threat of cyberattacks by foreign nations as he told the U.S. House of Representative Judiciary Committee that the incident was a “significant concern.” The Justice Department is working closely with the federal judiciary to address the security issue.

“While I can’t speak directly to the nature of the ongoing investigation of the type of threats that you’ve mentioned regarding the effort to compromise public judicial dockets, this is of course a significant concern for us given the nature of the information that’s often held by the courts,” Olsen said.

While Olsen did not specify which foreign threat actors were behind the data breach, Reuters reports Olsen did mention his division focuses on the risk of cyberattacks by foreign nations like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. 

In addition, the committee learned only in March of the “startling breadth and scope” of the breach, Representative Jerrold Nadler said. 

Tim Marley, VP Audit, Risk & Compliance, Field CISO at Cerberus Sentinel, says, “The impacts, in this case, are particularly challenging to measure. It isn’t a simple matter of lost credit card data, health information or other personal data.” 

Marley points to the comments made by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, which may indicate that substantial operational impacts due to the breach may have led to the dismissal of court cases without trial. “Again, with impacts this significant, it’s difficult to understand why stronger preventative measures weren’t already in place,” Marley says.