Louisiana state government experiences a major ransomware attack

Louisiana state government experiences a ransomware attack that affects its servers

Louisiana state experiences a major ransomware attempt

Ransomware attacks have become a common occurrence nowadays. As a confirmation to this fact, security experts released reports that the state government of Louisiana has become another victim of ransomware developers.[1]

On the 18th of November, John Bel Edwards from Louisiana government posted on Twitter that cybersecurity specialists have spotted the ransomware attack making an effect on some state servers and they have started to act on it:[2]

Today, we activated the state’s cybersecurity team in response to an attempted ransomware attack that is affecting some state servers. The Office of Technology Services identified a cybersecurity threat that affected some, but not all state servers. 

As a result of the ransomware attempt, multiple agencies were disabled

According to statistics, government-related organizations have been the main targets of ransomware so this attempt does not appear to be a surprise. However, this time ransomware forced Louisiana to disable multiple agencies such as the Office of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation and Development, and the Office of the Governor.[3]

Continuously, the Office of Technology Services needed to shutdown multiple email systems and addresses, government-related web pages, and some apps that held the risk of further ransomware exposure.[4] Even though there is a small amount of information released about the ransomware attack, all of these threats usually share the same operation module.

Ransomware viruses are known to encrypt all data found on the infected Windows computer system by using unique ciphers such as AES, RSA, etc. Afterward, cybercriminals provide the victims with a ransom note that holds the amount of ransom that needs to be paid in exchange for the decryption key.

Even though no current information has been provided about the demanded ransom price regarding Louisiana’s attempt, we can make a speculation that the price was not low as crooks targeted a huge organization. Also, these people often urge for the money to be transferred in Bitcoin in order to remain anonymous.

The government: there is no visible exposure of valuable data

Gladly, the government has reported that no important data losses have been detected, so private information should remain in place during the ransomware attack. Additionally, the authorities have claimed that Louisiana did not agree to pay the ransom.

For the future, we want to urge all users to be very careful online and pay attention to their computer security. Ransomware viruses are also very likely to approach random victims, encrypt their files, and then demand a ransom that the person might be incapable of paying.

For this purpose, all people should take care of backups for their files.[5] Another piece of advice would be to store your data in more than one storage place. For example, you can copy important documents to a USB drive or cloud and save these copies there. This way you will decrease the chances of data loss if a ransomware attack approaches you unexpectedly.