Ransomware Strikes At The Heart Of Louisiana Government Offices Closing The State To New Business…Recovery Pending!

The Department of Health, Office of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation and Development, and Various Other State Services Impacted in State Government Ransomware Attack.

On November 18, 2019, the State Government of Louisiana suffered a major setback in its computer security solutions. A state-wide ransomware attack forced numerous government websites, as well as Internet and email services, to effectively shut down. The Department of Health, Department of Transportation and Development, and 79 Office of Motor Vehicle locations were among the impacted state services. State officials say the root cause is what’s known as the RYUK ransomware – an infection that demands money from their victims.

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What is the State Government of Louisiana Doing Now?

Governor John Bel Edwards took to twitter and in a recent tweet, he’s tasked the state’s cybersecurity team to coordinate efforts to resolve this cyberattack. Cybersecurity Commissioner Jeff Moulton stated that the RYUK ransomware was installed via an unapproved software download. Similar to many other incidents of any ransomware infection, it all resulted from a simple human error.

Moulton estimated the number of computers affected to be around 1,600 across 132 servers. No personal data was disclosed or compromised during the event, according to state officials. Chief Information Security Officer Dustin Glover explained, “In this particular instance as with most ransomware, the goal of the attacker is to lock you out of your data to get some money. It’s monetary based.”

Impact of the Ransomware Attack

The Department of Health, Department of Transportation and Development, and 79 Office of Motor Vehicle locations were among the impacted state departments. All business was halted for the state’s 79 OMV locations and employees at the Louisiana Department of Health were instructed to disconnect their computer systems. Many trucking companies are unable to operate as they’re left struggling to visit the DOTD website for various permits.

This ransomware attack was huge – forcing a massive number of state employees to stop working. Deputy Chief Information Officer Neal Underwood mentioned they’re in the process of visiting each and every computer system around the state to remove the ransomware prior to opening the offices again.

How Can You Prevent a Ransomware Attack That Completely Halts Your Operations?

Ransomware is all about prevention. You need to work with a local IT company that specializes in cybersecurity to prevent threats from entering the network.

Essential Solutions recommends a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity is essential:

  1. Enterprise-grade security solutions such as firewalls, anti-virus software, web content filtering, intrusion detection software, encryption, and more to prevent unauthorized access.
  2. Regular training for employees to ensure they’re aware of how to detect a threat, such as a spear-phishing email, and how to adequately respond to it, as well as teach them general best practices.
  3. Data backup and business continuity planning that keeps all of your important applications and data backed up and ready to recover so you never have to pay a ransom should an infection occur.

Landon Futch, GM at Essential Solutions states “We’re all one simple human error away from a ransomware infection that takes down our operations. Get the right security solutions in place and train your employees to detect and respond to threats properly.”

Essential Solutions, located in Baton Rouge specializes in ransomware services and cybersecurity solutions for large and small organizations across the state. Learn more at https://www.esllc.com or call 225-336 0273.

Contact Information:

Landon T Futch | GM
Essential Solutions LLC
343 Third St. Ste 400, Baton Rouge, LA 70801 | USA
T +1 225 336 0273
F +1 225 336 0933
E landonf@esllc.com

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