Apparent ‘ransom’ attack cripples La. state government

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(WAFB/Gray News) - An apparent “ransom” attack crippled much of the Louisiana state government Monday.

Websites for the Office of the Governor, Louisiana State Legislature, Office of Motor Vehicles, Department of Corrections, and more were affected. (Source: WAFB)

An administrator at the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV), who didn't want to be named, said it appears the state was hit by a “ransomware attack.” The attack, which was first reported around 11 a.m. Monday, forced a shutdown of state agency websites, as well as internet and email access.

Websites for the Office of the Governor, Louisiana State Legislature, Office of Motor Vehicles, Department of Corrections, and more were affected. The large-scale outage prevented OMW workers from performing most functions and customers were encouraged to return at a later time.

A hacker can use ransomware to block access to a computer system, usually by encrypting it, until the “victim” pays a monetary ransom.

“Typically, ransomware includes a ransom,” an OMV official said.

Once the ransom software is installed “it would require a ransom to be paid before the attackers remove the virus,” the official said.

The issue also prevented business from being done at any of the state’s 79 OMV locations. A worker at The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) said employees there were instructed to disconnect their computers from the network. Some trucking companies in the state are having to keep trucks off the road as they are unable to go onto the DOTD website to apply for and print out things like “overweight” permits.

Division of Administration spokesman, Jacques Berry, reached by phone, says there’s a “system issue,” but did not elaborate. He later added that no personal data has been put at risk.

Copyright 2019 WAFB via Gray News. All rights reserved.

Read the original version of this article at wafb.com.



 
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