Cybersecurity

Stephenson Technologies Corp., a Baton Rouge cybersecurity research non-profit, was tasked to better understand the malware attacks on several North Louisiana schools which prompted a state of emergency declaration by the governor's office in July.

In south Louisiana, while it made the newspapers, probably few of us took much note of a July ransomware attack that shut down the computers in three school systems in the northern part of the state.

But if you needed a driver’s license this week, you’re very aware of what computer viruses can do. In response to the discovery of an attack, intended to lock up state servers in a bid for ransom, officials took down many offices’ communications.

Some agencies were back up promptly, but the Office of Motor Vehicles was a big one statewide that stayed closed for days.

The state Division of Administration moved quickly and aggressively to prevent the ransomware attack from being a Category 5 cyberstorm, but even at this lower threat level, the OMV closures showed how damaging the work of internet pirates can be.

Louisiana’s universities, LSU and others, are working on ways to help institutions here and around the world deal with cybersecurity issues. That work took on a more pressing priority if you needed help from OMV this week.

Our Views: Louisiana techies made the right call to counter ransomware