Cyber Attack Has Louisiana State Lawmakers Asking Questions

Dec 2, 2019

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ADDRESSING CYBERSECURITY CONCERNS - The ransom-ware  cyberattack that occurred two weeks ago on Louisiana’s state government computer servers disrupted several state agency operations and prompted Governor John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency.

The state activated its cybersecurity response team following the ransomware attack on government servers, and according to a press release the state did not lose any data nor pay any ransom, AND no personal data was compromised as state cyber-experts explained the attack was aimed at disrupting state server operations only.

Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R) Slidell, LA
Credit Courtesy: La. Gov. Video Archive

The shut-down was to prevent any unauthorized access and allow tech teams to take necessary cyber-security measures. While inconvenient the breach was nowhere near the worst-case scenario, of widespread  data  theft  or  crippled government services  for weeks or months. During  a recent meeting of the Joint House and Senate Budget Committee, Republican  Sen. Sharon  Hewitt  from  Slidell  praised  the quick response from Louisiana’s technology services office to the Nov. 18th  ransom-ware, but asked about  potential  vulnerabilities for future attacks.

"So does it make us more vulnerable or more likely that we could see more incidents similar to this or attempts to hack into our systems?" Hewitt asked.

Neal Underwood, Deputy Chief Information Officer - La. Office of Technology Services
Credit Courtesy: La. Gov. Video Archive

Neal Underwood, Louisiana’s deputy chief information officer, explained cyber-attacks are a daily reality of the computer age: 

“Generically, we get thousands of attempts to access our system every single day, 365 days a year," Underwood explained. "So  it's hard for us to tell if that trend is going up or down."        

The cyberattack came two days after the November 16th runoff election, Governor John Bel Edwards explained during his first post-election press conference that he would work to bolster Louisiana’s cybersecurity defenses.