It has been reported that the Louisiana state government computers were knocked out following a ransomware attack. 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.” A person familiar with the matter identified the particular breed of ransomware that struck Louisiana as Ryuk, a variant that cybersecurity firms first identified in August of last year.
Given the wave of ransomware infections targeting government institutions across the US, it’s important for organisations to understand and accept that ransomware is the new normal.
The Louisiana state government did the right thing by not paying the ransom as organisations that give in to the hackers’ demands are only fuelling the profitability of the ransomware industry for attackers. Government institutions should be particularly careful and deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to identify cyber threats in real time so they can resolve issues before harm is done. Prevention will always be the best cure for ransomware.