Louisiana has suffered yet another ransomware attack. Perhaps a cybercriminal ate some bad gumbo and now holds a grudge against the whole state. Earlier this year, attackers hit Louisiana school districts. Then last month, attackers compromised Louisiana state government servers. New Orleans is known for jazz, but over this past week, ransomware had them feeling the blues.

What Happened in New Orleans?

Early last Friday, New Orlean’s IT department noticed suspicious network activity. All the signs pointed to a Ryuk attack. After confirming the attack, Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a state of emergency. Then New Orleans decided to shut down all servers and computers. They also shut down the NOLA.gov website.

All city employees were instructed to power down computers and physically unplug them. Fortunately, emergency services remained unaffected. Police, fire, and EMS utilized communications outside the city’s internet network.

Ransomware Targeting Governments

Ransomware attacks have struck city and state governments at an unprecedented rate this year. 22 smaller Texas municipalities, Baltimore, Pensacola and other cities in Florida have all suffered from it. New Orleans joins their ranks. However, New Orleans has benefited from lessons learned in previous attacks seen around the country.

Recovery Process

New Orleans’ emergency plans minimized the damage. Preparations included response training and working without internet access. Many government services reverted back to pen and paper. The Police Department is writing reports and warrants by hand.

New Orleans, in large part, remained functional. However, the recovery process is progressing slowly. Government employees and volunteers are working to re-image 4,000 workstations. As of Wednesday, they’ve completed only 10% of that process. As systems come back online, each city department will shift from manual to digital processes.

Future Costs

In just a week, the incident has incurred a cost of nearly $1 million. Thankfully, New Orleans purchased cybersecurity insurance in 2018. That policy is covering those costs. Comparatively, Baltimore has spent nearly $18 million recovering from their attack.

Ryuk appeared for the first time in 2018. In just a year, it’s become a name heard too often. As we approach 2020, we can only wonder what the next year will look like. Governments haven’t been the only target in 2019. Ransomware hit businesses hard as well.

Is your business prepared for the worst? Or are you just hoping for the best? Let Pit Crew IT Services create a ransomware response plan tailored for your organization. Hopefully, you never have to use it. In the event that you do, this plan will help minimize downtime and loss. Request your free consultation today!

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