Ransomware attack forces Louisiana Governor to declare an emergency

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Ransomware attack has forced Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to declare emergency after three school districts in the region were hit by a ransomware attack early this week. The names of the school districts are Ouachita, Morehouse and Sabin and sources confirm that the digital files about the three schools remain encrypted and remain inaccessible to the staff and students even today i.e Friday.

With the declaration of the emergency, Louisiana happens to join the list standing second in line following Colorado Department of Transportation which decided to forcefully shut down its services and declare an emergency after a malware attack on its database took place in Feb’18.

SamSam ransomware was the malware which hit the database of Colorado Department of Transportation early last year. But with Louisiana, the malware variant has to be diagnosed yet.

As the schools have been shut down for month or so, the IT staff of the three schools will be working hard to revive the lost data as early as possible. And State officials have declared that they will rebuild the data by the start of the upcoming academic year which is likely to start from September first week.

After signing the Emergency Declaration John Bel Edwards has announced that the state resources will be available to impacted schools from now on and this includes official assistance from Cybersecurity experts working for Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, the Office of Technology Service, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP).

Louisiana Governor Edwards said that the state of emergency will remain in place till Aug 21st of this year or until all the digital assets of the 3 schools are fully recovered.

Note- In Dec’17, three ransomware outbreaks- namely NotPetya, Bad Rabbit, and WannaCry took place across the world and companies, educational institutes and some government utilities were affected in Louisiana. As soon as the digital disruption outbreak took place, North Louisiana established a Cybersecurity Commission to assemble and coordinate ‘smart response teams’ to assist the victims in the event of a cyber attack.