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Louisiana Servers Down After Another Ransomware Blitz

A major ransomware attack on Louisiana state IT infrastructure yesterday forced multiple services offline, including government websites, email and internal applications.

The incident was revealed by Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards in a series of tweets on Monday afternoon, local time.

He claimed the state’s Office of Technology Services (OTS) detected a cybersecurity threat that “affected some, but not all state servers,” and triggered a speedy incident response.

“OTS immediately initiated its security protocols and, out of an abundance of caution, took state servers down, which impacted many state agencies’ email, websites and other online applications,” he continued.

“The service interruption was due to OTS’ aggressive response to prevent additional infection of state servers and not due to the attempted ransomware attack. Online services started to come back online this afternoon, though full restoration may take several days.”

According to the OTS the attack is “similar” to the ones that have ravaged local municipalities and school districts across the US over recent months.

One of those attacks hit Louisiana back in July, forcing the governor to declare a state of emergency as school districts in Sabine, Morehouse, and Ouachita parishes in the north of the state were affected.

Louisiana actually has a better set-up than many states: its Cyber Security Commission was designed to prepare for and help local governments respond to such emerging threats.

As a result, “there is no anticipated data loss and the state did not pay a ransom,” Edwards said.

That comes in contrast to the likes of Baltimore, which refused to pay a ransom and is said to have lost over $18 million as a result of the outages, or several cities in Florida and elsewhere that have paid out hundreds of thousands to attackers.

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