LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - State officials say they now know the culprit behind a ransom attack that crippled dozens of government-run offices across the state.
Statewide security issues from Monday’s ransomware attack carried into Tuesday as Louisiana Office of Technology Services and State Police continued to correct and investigate server shutdowns at various agencies.
According to state cybersecurity commissioner, Jeff Moulton, someone downloaded an unauthorized program containing a virus to a state computer. The virus was contained to 130 servers, impacting less than 600 clients. One of those being the Office of Motor Vehicles.
OMV locations across the state, including the one in Lake Charles, were slated to re-open at noon, Tuesday. However, those in line said that was not the case.
“The sign said they were opening up at 12..it’s 12 now right? So we just made a trip down here today for nothing," said Willie Lee, who traveled from Shreveport.
That feeling of disappointment was echoed by dozens at the Lake Charles OMV.
Many were there to take care of expired licenses, registrations, and driving permits.
“I have till January to do it, I just don’t like this kind of stuff hanging over my head, I like to take care of it quickly,” said Cyndi Faust
“I have a CDL license and here I am, just shut down, it’s putting me out of service,” said Carson Broussard.
“We came down here from Shreveport to do some work and can’t even get a permit,” said Willie Lee.
“I’m just worried about if I’ll be flagged on my insurance...I don’t want that. That’s why I was here turning my plate in,” said Christina Winn.
That virus did not only affect OMV’s statewide but The Department of Children and Family services as well.
If you tried applying online for services such as food stamps within the last 24 hours, you probably didn’t get far. However, the department did release a statement saying that most of the 375-thousand SNAP customers can use their benefits.
“It’s kind of scary if they can hack into this what else can they do,” said Christina Winn.
The governor's cybersecurity commission says the virus has been located and they're working to restore services across the state.
Thankfully, they say no data was lost, and the state did not pay hackers a ransom.
LSP later announced that all OMV offices will remain closed on Wednesday, Nov. 20 for ongoing network restoration.
The office performed an evaluation this morning to see if they could reopen offices later this afternoon but have since stated that they will be unable to open today.
The public is being asked to exercise patience and only visit OMV locations for critical needs. Filing Unemployment Insurance claims could be delayed until later in the day.
Members of the public with business that’s not available online should call the agency they need to work with directly.
State offices impacted by the ransomware attack:
- Office of Motor Vehicles
Around 79 OMV offices went offline Monday due to the ransomware attacks and ceased any driver's license issuing car registration renewal from happening.
- Department of Children and Family Services
The agency couldn’t conduct business as usual when its system went down Monday, particularly if people were trying to apply for food stamps or even report child abuse online.
Most of the 375,000 SNAP benefit recipients were still good to use their EBT cards, which were loaded electronically during the first two weeks of the month.
- Louisiana Department of Health
- Louisiana Secretary of State
- Louisiana Public Service Commission
- Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries
Residents were also unable to purchase hunting licenses because of the ransomware attack.