French officials were scrambling to deal with a cyberattack on Friday after hackers claimed to have broken into the justice ministry’s computer systems.
A group known as LockBit 2.0 posted a message saying they had locked the ministry’s files and would publish them on February 10 if the government failed to pay a ransom.
The extent of the attack was not clear and no information was released about the ransom demand.
“Something has happened but it is not on a significant scale, it did not target criminal court cases,” a source close to the investigation.
Experts say ransomware attacks on central government ministries are rare.
The LockBit 2.0 group and its predecessor LockBit have been blamed in the past for attacks on companies, reportedly including a high-profile attempt to extort consultancy firm Accenture last year.
The French ministry said on Thursday it had “immediately organized to carry out the necessary checks” when it was notified of the incident, adding on Friday that those checks were still going on.
“We are in the process of checking our system point by point, which takes time,” said the ministry.