back to article Lawyers' secure email network goes down, firm says it'll take 2 weeks to restore

Barristers and court prosecutors have been left scratching their heads this morning after Egress Technologies' CJSM email system went down – with the firm saying it could take up to a fortnight to fully restore it. CJSM stands for Criminal Justice Secure eMail. The network is used by Crown prosecutors, judges and other "public …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why has the robot got a gavel?

    1. Symon Silver badge
      Headmaster

      It's auctioning off Egress Technologies' assets?

      "Although they’re often seen in cartoons and TV programmes and mentioned in almost everything else involving judges, the one place you won’t see a gavel is an English or Welsh courtroom – they are not used there and have never been used in the criminal courts."

      https://www.judiciary.uk/about-the-judiciary/the-justice-system/court-traditions/

    2. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Coat

      Alright I'll bite.

      It's AI is judgemental?

      No, um... Its wig is at the cleaners?

      Awful sorry.

      It holds you in contempt?

      I withdraw, Symon is the obvious candidate

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well, speaking of contempt - if this were to happen to a law firm there would be exactly zero acceptance for this. We would hear how much this was our fault and it is now up to you to provide the miracle of instant recovery because we are not going to stay the proceedings. Oh, and if you fail, you will of course be held in contempt.

        This is one of the many reasons law services are expensive - the amount of belts and braces involved is far beyond what people will believe. Two separate persons checking and verifying dates is not enough to satisfy the all due care requirement. And this is of course a one-sided requirement.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Terminator

      It's for smashing Luddites with.

    4. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Why has the robot got a gavel?

      Presumably trying to suggest the good old USA is responsible, since we don't have the little wooden hammers in this country.

      1. Sureo

        Re: Why has the robot got a gavel?

        Isn't the robot about to smash a Google Home or Amazon Echo?

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Down for 2 weeks - WTF?

    I've had mail servers with "issues" before but it's never taken more than 18 hours to rebuild from scratch and reload everything from backups. I would imagine they are scrubbing the stored mail but still - two weeks?

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Down for 2 weeks - WTF?

      Probably wrong guess, that sounds more like rebuilding after a slew of bad backups. That or the only part to fix the system coming from Katmandu in a very slow Yak!

      1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

        Re: Down for 2 weeks - WTF?

        Provided the Yak's are transiting the mountains, my experience is that they are faster than loaded humans. Plus they cannot live below 3000 metres or so....

      2. Keith Langmead

        Re: Down for 2 weeks - WTF?

        "That or the only part to fix the system coming from Katmandu in a very slow Yak!"

        I don't fancy being the engineer having to install a part that's been inside a Yak! :D

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Down for 2 weeks - WTF?

          The Russians do it all the time - I remember refusing to use a flight for self and team as the engineering staff were clearly pissed.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Down for 2 weeks - WTF?

      They outsourced the support staff to Katmandu and they are all from some cult that forbids any work if a cat is seen in the area. Two weeks is optimistic.

    3. The Nazz Silver badge

      Re: Down for 2 weeks - WTF?

      Don't forget that the Lawyers are paid by the hour.

      1. Insert sadsack pun here

        Re: Down for 2 weeks - WTF?

        1) CJSM isn't operated by lawyers, for obvious reasons

        2) the vast majority of lawyers using CJSM won't be paid by the hour. Either they'll be salaried employees or they'll be paid a (comically small) fixed fee for each case.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    Genuine LOL.

    "Naturally, frustrated legal eagles started venting on Twitter about the outage, and in keeping with the news media's recent tradition of reproducing things that you yourself could find with 10 seconds' effort, here are a couple of angry tweets:"

    Well done, Gareth.

    1. m0rt Silver badge

      Re: Genuine LOL.

      Going by a couple of recent BBC news articles which seem to consist SOLEY of tweets... I applaud your sticking to just two.

      1. Steve Aubrey
        Headmaster

        Re: Genuine LOL.

        "SOLEY" - pertaining to the bottom of shoes??

        Shorely "SOLELY" - not involving anyone or anything else; only

        Again, a grumpy Friday makes me hit the keyboard.

        1. m0rt Silver badge

          Re: Genuine LOL.

          It did look wrong to me but i couldn't work out why.

          Meh.

          You got an upvote as a result so +1 for being grumpy, Steve.

          :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Egress deployment options

    Egress can be deployed in a number of topologies, including fully self hosted. It's possible that this is a situation where there was a customer hardware failure and they (maybe) have their backups on (for example) tape. As everything is encrypted, until the whole lot is back, none of it will be back so it's possible to see how this situation could arise.

    Encryption is a pain to deal with in terms of backups - we've had to restore terabytes of encrypted volumes before due to drive failure and file system corruption on client hardware and it's not fun.

  5. ThatOne Silver badge

    Ransomware?

    Two weeks to assess which files are clean and which are infected, and then reloading of the last clean backup, which would be the one from two weeks ago, 14 days being the grace period of the ransomware. Or some such.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We estimate the restoration process to take up to 2 weeks, however we will provide an update as this progresses over the next few days," said Egress' CJSM update email to users.

    Only affects people using their mail servers. We've had no problems as we use our own servers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed. As a CJSM user myself, I understand the problem is for people who use the web front-end for the service - anyone who accesses it through a mail client like Outlook should be OK.

      That said, I use the web client, so it looks like beer o'clock came early today.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        If you use IMAP to connect, or anything other than POP, then if the emails disappear from the server, then don't they also disappear from the client next time you connect?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You can use POP and leave the copy in the server intact. That depends on the settings.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          >IMAP...then if the emails disappear from the server, then don't they also disappear from the client next time you connect?

          Depends on the client settings: these can range from automatically downloading everything or only those items that have been selected to be opened.

  7. MatthewSt

    Security vs Availability

    The only secure system is one that is not available

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Security vs Availability

      So you're saying that a secure system buried under a DDoS attack is safe? Depends if it's critical IMHO.

      1. MatthewSt

        Re: Security vs Availability

        I'm saying that your data can't be accessed by anyone if your system is offline.

        Even the most insecure code in the world isn't going to leak data if your server goes down or is unavailable (DDoS or otherwise).

  8. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Egress Technologies?

    One has to wonder if anyone looked up the meaning of Egress before buying this product.

    PT Barnum was ahead of his time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Egress Technologies?

      One has to wonder if anyone looked up the meaning of Egress before buying this product.

      Come off it. More bungled civil service procurement.

      For what seems to be a mission critical system, you'd have thought they would have a robust SLA and get vast compensation for all the expensive time now wasted. Then again, when have government ever done anything like that?

  9. vulture65537

    But this is all OK as the PM has said people shouldn't have encrypted mail.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Read the Secret Barrister's tweets

    If you follow, which you should @TheSecretBarrister his twitter stream first exposed this mess. And it's full of hysterically funny posts about !

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Read the Secret Barrister's tweets

      "If you follow, which you should @TheSecretBarrister"

      There's a good reason not to. It requires use of social media.

      1. stiine

        Re: Read the Secret Barrister's tweets

        Or anti-social media.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always use a client cached on the local system

    Never use webmail unless it is entirely necessary. A local client is always the best bet. Also, IMHO, all this cloud fiasco, wait til it fails, then you will wish for local servers.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remind me why we got rid of those nasty fax machines, clerk?

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      RE: Remind me why we got rid of those nasty fax machines, clerk?

      Because the beancounters said it would cut costs!!!

      1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Re: RE: Remind me why we got rid of those nasty fax machines, clerk?

        NO!

        Because they're not MODERN!

        Remember, NEWER is BETTER, even if you've gone backwards functionally.

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    As a lawyer representing himself has a fool for a client are they going to brief each other to sue?

  14. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Joke

    TITSUP

    Two-week Inability To Summons Unrepentent Perps

  15. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    FAIL

    I would imagine they are scrubbing the stored mail but still - two weeks?

    That's because they need to get some body shop, like Capita or IBM, to come in and fix it. They don't appear out of thin air, y'know. Not without drawing a pentagram on the floor and chanting "I summon thee" three times.

    In all seriousness, I hope this is not a computer attack because it sure would make me wonder if the UK government have any idea of IT security/operations or is all just "lip service"?

    1. bpfh

      Correct. The pentagram and chanting is used to summon Oracle. Or BT depending on the chant.

  16. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Criminal Justice Secure eMail messages themselves are neither signed nor encrypted

    Secure eMail | Technical Overview: CJSM Version 2.x (Information for IT Teams):

    ‘The overall CJSM programme is being managed by Criminal Justice IT (CJIT). CJSM does not provide “secure email” in the sense in which that phrase is normally used. The messages themselves are neither signed nor encrypted.’

    “In fact, they cannot be signed or encrypted. Modifications made to the message in transit across CJSM mean that the message digests (think of these as checksums or fingerprints of the original message) used to calculate the original keys would not match those of the message received. Signature verification would fail, and decryption of the message would be impossible. This behaviour is understood and it is by design.”

  17. kain preacher Silver badge

    Let me guess the one person that can fix it is on holiday or made redundant and they are negotiating the rate .

  18. PhilipN Silver badge

    Old Tech Solution >

    The Senior Partner in a law firm I was with in a previous lifetime once said only half joking he wanted a neon-lit sign on his door saying "Fuck off".

    Somehow I think he would have reported his email system broken and useless, perhaps on a daily basis.

    Now that would be a "MeToo" movement for the rest of us.

  19. Griffo

    Stab in the dark guess

    Lost a server or storage group.

    Discovered backup junk

    Recovering emails from a journal, which means that it needs to process every mail, decide whether to restore it, and insert it back into the users (now empty) mailbox.

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