Cyberattack Prompts Statewide Emergency Declaration In Louisiana

Photo By: NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

An ongoing cyberattack affecting several local government agencies prompted Gov. John Bel Edwards to issue a statewide Emergency Declaration on Wednesday (July 25). The declaration allows the state to receive assistance from the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, the Office of Technology Services, and others to assist local governments.

“The state was made aware of a malware attack on a few north Louisiana school systems and we have been coordinating a response ever since, Gov. Edwards said. Thus far, school systems in Sabine, Morehouse, and Ouachita parishes in north Louisiana have been affected by the malware attack.

According to the Morehouse Parish School District:

“Last week Monroe City schools were attacked by a malware virus that shut the computers (sic) system down. This week Sabine and Morehouse Parishes were also breached. Morehouse was not affected to the extent that Sabine and Monroe City were. There will be no delays and all major systems, including payroll, are operational. Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a State of Emergency that will allow the National Guard to employ the Cyber unit to come in to help restore technology and rebuild firewalls. The office of Homeland Security is also involved. We remind you to be mindful and be aware of bank and credit card solicitations.”

The Sabine Parish school district released this statement:

“The Sabine Parish School System was hit with an electronic virus early Sunday moring. This virus had disabled some of our technology systems and our central office phone system. The district staff reported this electronic viral attack to local law enforcement, state officials, and the FBI. All available resources are being utilized to ge the district systems back online. An investigation involving local, state and federal law enforcement is ongoing at this time. The school phone systems were not affected by this attack. The central office phone system is being repaired and service will be restored as soon as possible. According to the Louisiana Department of Education, several other school districts were attacked by the same virus this week.”

According to Gov. Edwards, the state is well-positioned to handle the situation.  “This is exactly why we established the Cybersecurity Commission, focused on preparing for, responding to, and preventing cybersecurity attacks, and we are well-positioned to assist local governments as they battle this current threat.”

Gov. Edwards established the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission in 2017 as a statewide partnership between subject matter experts, key stakeholders, and cybersecurity professionals from Louisiana’s law enforcement, academic community, public sector, and private industry. The Commission currently has 15 members:

  • Craig Spohn – Executive Director/President of the Cyber Innovation Center
  • MG. Glenn Curtis – Adjutant General of the Lousiana National Guard
  • Kevin Reeves – Louisiana State Police
  • James Waskom – Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness
  • Dickie Howze – Divison of Administration
  • Mark Northrup – CLECO
  • Edward Flynn – Louisiana Chemical Association
  • William Bradley
  • Ramesh Kolluru – University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Jeffery Moulton – Louisiana State University
  • Fran Gladden – Cox Communications
  • Sonya Wiley – Rapides Parish EOC
  • Yenumula Reddy, Ph.D – Grambling State University
  • Dr. Les Guice – Louisiana Tech University
  • Kyle Ardoin – Secretary of State

You can learn more about the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission here.

Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Big Easy Magazine. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Wander N.O. More, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News,, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_

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