Several school systems in Louisiana have been attacked by malware, Gov. John Bel Edwards said, and authorities are trying to determine if any other agencies are affected.
The governor issued a statewide emergency declaration Wednesday after the security breach was discovered in several school systems throughout the state, his office said. The declaration — the state’s first cybersecurity emergency activation — allows multiple resources to be devoted to the probe.
“The state was made aware of a malware attack on a few north Louisiana school systems and we have been coordinating a response ever since,” Edwards said.
Recently, ransomware hackers have taken over the computer systems of several cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore and Albany, as well as at least two cities in Florida. There have been at least 22 reported breaches of public sector networks in 2019, CNN reported in May.
In Louisiana, school systems in Sabine, Morehouse, and Ouachita parishes have been compromised, the governor’s statement said, and authorities are investigating to determine if other agencies are at risk.
The declaration enables local governments to utilize cybersecurity experts from the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, the Office of Technology Services and others to resolve and prevent cyberattacks, according to the news release.
The threat is ongoing, according to the governor’s office.
In 2017, Edwards established a commission comprised of partners from the private sector, public sector, academia and law enforcement to respond to such threats.
“This is exactly why we established the Cyber Security Commission, focused on preparing for, responding to and preventing cybersecurity attacks, and we are well-positioned to assist local governments as they battle this current threat,” Edwards said.
Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), the state Office of Technology Services, Louisiana State University and other agencies are determining how to move forward, the release said.