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Office of Motor Vehicles closed until Monday as state recovers from cyberattack

4 years 7 months 2 days ago Monday, November 18 2019 Nov 18, 2019 November 18, 2019 11:00 PM November 18, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles will remain closed until next week as the state bounces back from an attempted ransomware attack.

Governor John Bel Edwards announced Thursday he expects OMV offices to reopen statewide Monday. Though employees are on site, the buildings are not open to the public. 

Louisiana State Police also says troopers will be "exercising discretion" upon encountering recently expired licenses and registrations in the mean time.  

The announcement comes as officials continue efforts to restore online services after Monday's cyberattack on Louisiana's online government services. Officials will evaluate whether or not the officials will reopen later in the day Thursday.

The state says its making progress but experts are doubtful the problems will be complete resolved soon. 

"Realistically speaking, these types of impacts are very deep, and it's going to take time, if not several days, to properly recover," said Calude Louis with Dot Calm Solutions.

A similar attack happened in Atlanta last year. What is said to have started as a $50,000 ransom ending up costing that city nearly $3 million in emergency contract consulting.

Officials said Tuesday roughly 1,600 in Louisiana computers were rendered inoperable.

The state released the following statement late Tuesday morning.

State websites and many online government services that were taken down yesterday are now available Tuesday, as the state’s cybersecurity experts continue to respond to an attempted ransomware attack on state servers early Monday morning.

Additional states services, including Louisiana’s Office of Motor Vehicles, may be limited as Internet access is restored to state agencies and workstations are repaired. OMV offices will beclosed until noon today. Filing Unemployment Insurance claims could be delayed until later in the day.

Members of the public with business that is not available online should call the agency they need to work with directly.

“While it is nearly impossible to prevent all cyber attacks, because we have prioritized improving Louisiana’s cybersecurity capabilities, we were able to quickly neutralize the threat. The majority of the service interruption seen by employees and the public yesterday was due to
our aggressive actions to combat the attack,” Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said. “We are confident we did not have any lost data and we appreciate the public’s patience as we continue to bring services online over the next few days.”

Governor Edwards prioritized increasing and improving cybersecurity capabilities in Louisiana, leading to the creation of Emergency Support Function 17, which is why Louisiana was able to quickly and aggressively respond to Monday’s attempted ransomware attack.

Yesterday’s service interruption was largely due to the state Office of Technology Services’ aggressive response to prevent additional infection of state servers and not due to the attempted ransomware attack.

Online services and email started to come back online yesterday afternoon, though full service restoration may take several days.

OTS has confirmed that this attempted ransomware attack is similar to the ransomware targeted at local school districts and government entities across the country this summer. There is no anticipated data loss and the state did not pay a ransom. OTS staff continues to expand its security presence following the incident, both from systems and training perspectives.

Louisiana State Police and several federal agencies are investigating this attempted ransomware attack.

Louisiana’s ESF-17 team consists of leaders from OTS, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, LSP, the Louisiana National Guard, state university systems and other cybersecurity experts.

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