Gov. Edwards declares state of emergency over cyberattacks

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat seeking a second term in office, criticizes his Republican opponent Eddie Rispone’s proposal to “freeze” enrollment in the state’s Medicaid expansion program, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency this afternoon over this week’s government-crippling webite cyberattacks.

The incident has paralyzed several state agencies, which depend on the web to perform many services.

“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 claimed it did not lose any data, nor did it pay a ransom.

While many state websites and email servers 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.

You can view the emergency declaration here.

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