Louisiana declares state of emergency after ransomware attack

State of Louisiana declares state of emergency after ransomware attack

Governor Edwards of Louisiana has declared a state of emergency after three of its school districts were hit with ransomware attacks.

According to the Governor’s press release last Wednesday, the cybersecurity incident has impacted school systems in the Northern Louisiana school districts of Sabine, Morehouse and Ouachita.

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) has activated its Crisis Action Team and Emergency Services Function-17 to help better coordinate a response to the incident. In addition, the state has been coordinating with the FBI, state agencies and higher education partners.

“The state was made aware of a malware attack on a few north Louisiana school systems and we have been coordinating a response ever since,” Gov. John Edwards said in the announcement.

“This is exactly why we established the Cyber Security Commission, focused on preparing for, responding to and preventing cybersecurity attacks, and we are well-positioned to assist local governments as they battle this current threat.”

This is the first time the state of Louisiana has activated its newly created emergency support function. In 2017, the state created the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission, a partnership made up of cybersecurity experts and key stakeholders from Louisiana’s public and private sectors, as well as academia and law enforcement professionals.

The Sabine Parish School District also issued a statement last Wednesday night, as reported by local news station WAFB:

“The Sabine Parish School System was hit with an electronic virus early Sunday morning. This virus has disabled some of our technology systems and our central office phone system. The district staff reported this electronic viral attack to local law enforcement, state officials and the FBI. All available resources are being utilized to get the district systems back online. An investigation involving local, state and federal law enforcement is ongoing at this time. The school phone systems were not affected by this attack. The central office phone system is being repaired and service will be restored as soon as possible. According to the Louisiana Department of Education, several other school districts were attacked by the same virus this week.”

So far, there is still no word on what ransomware variant was used in the attack.

You can also read about the Emergency Declaration here.