Statewide efforts to prevent cyber attacks

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- After cyber attackers hit four school districts throughout the state, several local school districts have taken necessary precautions.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said statewide, they’ve taken precautionary measures by immediately shutting down all local access to their system. That’s until officials learn exactly what cyber attack issues are taking place.

“What we did was shut down the entire system,” explained Ardoin. “We alerted the clerks and the registrars state wide, shut the system down, then we did a sweep of our system. We checked our internal, and then we checked our external and we were all clear of what we perceived was the ransomware.”

Ardoin said officials are being vigilant with this cyber incident in every parish across the state.

“It was actually a very good exercise to go through because you can practice, but until you’re actually going through it, you really don’t know exactly what you’re experiencing so I can ensure the voters that we have done everything possible to protect our system,” said Ardoin.

Qualifying for the October election begins next week, and Ardoin said they haven’t found any local offices who were compromised. He believes that’s because they have all been proactive when it comes to protecting voter information.

Ardoin added, “With elections, we’ve been focusing on cyber security long before most anyone else. We meet regularly with other secretaries about it around the country, and we’re focused in on this on a regular basis so we’re sort of ahead of the curve and Louisiana is doing a phenomenal job.” 

News 10 report Sylvia Masters asked, “Anything residents should be aware of, should do, when it comes to getting phishing emails?”
Ardoin answered, “If you think it’s your personal identifying information, which normally that’s what they want. They want some sort of personal information so that they can steal your identity, so I suggest anyone if you get an email that you think is one of these, then I would delete it immediately, and then not answer anything like that, and report it where you can.”

Ardoin says the most common way to attack a system is by phishing emails.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says phishing is when cyber criminals impersonate a business or organization to trick you into sharing your personal information.

Ardoin says officials regularly practice with the Department of Homeland Security for future instances of cyber attacks.

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