Ransomware attack that crippled state computer systems lingers into second day

Updated: Nov. 19, 2019 at 6:52 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) -Louisiana State Police and federal agencies look into an attempted ransomware attack that crippled Louisiana government agencies Monday.

State agencies shut down computer servers as a precaution. The threat shut down many state websites and the computer system at the Office of Motor Vehicles.

A constant flow of frustrated people were turned away from the OMV at the end of Veterans Blvd.

Business at all 79 OMV locations statewide was at a halt.

State officials say as a precaution they took down a number of severs which impacted many state agencies’ email, websites and other online applications.

Some online services and emails started to come back online, but full service restoration may take several days.

The commissioner for the office of technology services, which identified the ransomware, says the state did not pay the ransom and doesn’t believe any data was loss.

Ransomware is like a virus that downloads on your computer and encrypts your files essentially holding them for ransom until you pay the hacker to un-encrypt them.

One IT professional says if you don’t protect yourself from ransomware, it can come without notice. The state says the attempted cyber attack is similar to the ransomware that targeted local school districts and government entities around the country over the Summer.

In a statement, the Commissioner of Administration’s Office says “The State of Louisiana on Monday activated ESF-17, its cybersecurity team, to respond to an attempted ransomware attack that is affecting some state servers. This morning, the Division of Administration’s Office of Technology Services identified a cybersecurity threat that affected some, but not all, state servers. 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.”

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