Ransomware infected systems at state government of Louisiana

Pierluigi Paganini November 19, 2019

Another ransomware attack made the headlines, the victim is the state government of Louisiana, numerous services have been impacted.

The state government of Louisiana was hit by a ransomware attack that affected multiple state services including the Office of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Health, and the Department of Transportion and Development.

The incident forced the state of government of Louisiana to shut down several numerous web sites of the state as well as email and Internet services.

“Today, we activated the state’s cybersecurity team in response to an attempted ransomware attack that is affecting some state servers. The Office of Technology Services identified a cybersecurity threat that affected some, but not all state servers,” Governor Edwards said.

“OTS immediately initiated its security protocols and, out of an abundance of caution, took state servers down, which impacted many state agencies’ e-mail, websites and other online applications.”

According to the Fox8live website, the ransomware infection disrupted operations at any of the state’s 79 OMV locations.

“A worker at The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) said employees there were instructed to disconnect their computers from the network. Some trucking companies in the state are having to keep trucks off the road as they are unable to go onto the DOTD website to apply for and print out things like “overweight” permits. ” states the website Fox8live.

Louisiana’s Office of Technology Services confirmed that the attack is similar to one that hit Louisiana schools in July ahead of year’s beginning, for this reason, Governor Edwards decided to declare a state of emergency.

In December 2017, Governor Edwards established a Cybersecurity Commission that was tasked to create procedures and detail incident response procedures to cyber attacks.

“No one is immune to these attempted cyber attacks, which is why Governor Edwards’ has focused on building Louisiana’s cybersecurity capabilities,” the governor’s commissioner of administration, Jay Dardenne, said in a statement. “Our experts train and prepare for these types of incidents and have been successful in mitigating similar issues in the past, including this summer when our teams successfully brought services back online following the cyber attack on local schools. We have confidence in our cyber safeguards, capabilities and personnel and we are working to bring as many online services back online as quickly as we can.”

At this time there are no technical details about the attack and not clear the family of ransomware that infected the systems at the state government of Louisiana.

In the last months, other municipalities were hit by ransomware attacks, in August at least 23 local government organizations were impacted by the ransomware attacks.

some cities in Florida were victims of hackers, including Key Biscayne, Riviera Beach and Lake City.

In June, the Riviera Beach City agreed to pay $600,000 in ransom to decrypt its data after a ransomware-based attack hit its computer system. A few days later, Lake City also agreed to pay nearly $500,000 in ransom after a ransomware attack.

In July 2018, another Palm Beach suburb, Palm Springs, decided to pay a ransom, but it was not able to completely recover all its data.

In March 2019, computers of Jackson County, Georgia, were infected with ransomware that paralyzed the government activity until officials decided to pay a $400,000 ransom to decrypt the files.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Louisiana, ransomware attack)

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