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November 18, 2019

Louisiana Government Computers Hit With Ransomware During Election


Louisiana state government computers were knocked out following a ransomware attack, the governor said on Monday, as results from the close gubernatorial election in the southern state await certification.

Many state agencies had their servers taken down in response to the attack, Governor John Bel Edwards said in a series of messages posted to Twitter. He said the agencies were coming back online but that full restoration could take “several days.”

“There is no anticipated data loss and the state did not pay a ransom,” he said.

Louisiana Secretary of State spokesman Tyler Brey said that while his office’s website was briefly offline, the tallying of Saturday’s vote, in which Bel Edwards narrowly won re-election, was unaffected.

This time the state election was unaffected but the next time they might not be so lucky.

Recently, we told you about how PeMex is being held hostage for a $5M ransomware payment. Also, we shared FBI phishing and spear-phishing avoidance tactics and finally, the fact that being hacked could cause tremendous financial damage, including state penalties.

This incident is an important reminder as to what could happen if states and other organizations do not take precautions to protect themselves.

How do you stay secure or at least drastically reduce the risk? Just follow these three steps:

1) Read cybersecurity essentials – a simple list which will help most organizations become far more secure.

2) Go to a phishing simulation vendor now and sign up for one of their offerings. Phishing BoxKnowBe4 and Phish360; are all great. This is needed to train workers by testing them without their knowledge by sending real-looking emails to their inboxes. If they click, they are immediately trained on what not to do.

3) We also recommend you get a free evaluation of your cybersecurity risk from an MSP/MSSP immediately – they can also help you build in the needed compliance to reduce the risk of being fined.





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