Gov. Edwards declares State of Emergency following cyberattack on government agencies

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards declared a State of Emergency Friday afternoon following a cybersecurity attack that affected state servers throughout the week.

According to a news release, the emergency declaration specifically allows the heads of the Office of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation and Development and the Department of Revenue to take certain actions that will assist members of the public affected by the service interruption related to Monday’s cybersecurity incident.

“We appreciate the patience of the public as our team of experts has worked around the clock to restore online services related to this cybersecurity issue,” Gov. Edwards said.

“We know that some people may have missed filing deadlines or incurred fees because of the outage, which the emergency declaration allows us to correct so that the members of the public are not penalized unnecessarily.”

On Monday, the state of Louisiana activated its ESF-17, the cybersecurity response team, after a ransomware attack on Louisiana government servers. The state did not lose any data, nor did it pay a ransom.

While many state websites and email were unavailable on Monday, much of this outage was due to the state taking extreme emergency protective measures, including shutting down server traffic, to neutralize the attack. These protective actions likely saved the state from data loss and weeks of service outages.

Louisiana’s ESF-17 team consists of leaders from the Office of Technology Services, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard, state university systems and other cybersecurity experts. Since Monday, ESF-17 has worked with state agencies to restore access to their services, with most having been restored.

Louisiana State Police and several federal agencies are investigating this attempted ransomware attack.

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