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Attacks/Breaches

7/25/2019
05:20 PM
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Louisiana Declares Cybersecurity State of Emergency

A series of attacks on school district systems leads the governor to declare the state's first cybersecurity state of emergency.

Louisiana is no stranger to declarations of emergency, but it never had one for a cybersecurity emergency — until this week. A series of attacks on school districts around the state led Governor John Bel Edwards to issue the declaration that brings new resources and statewide coordination to what had been a collection of local cybersecurity events.

By issuing the formal declaration, the governor allows statewide resources from the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Office of Technology Services, and Louisiana State University, led by the state Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, to be brought to bear on defense, analysis, and remediation efforts. These state resources will join federal resources that have already been briefed, as well as local cybersecurity teams, to address the attacks.

This is not the first time a state emergency declaration has been issued for cyberattacks; in 2016, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper declared a state of emergency due to attacks on that state's department of transportation.

For more, read here.

 

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tdsan
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tdsan,
User Rank: Ninja
7/25/2019 | 9:48:39 PM
Sounds like the state did not think enough of the schools to address this impending problem

"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. "This is exactly why we established the Cyber Security 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."

Since this 2017 commission was created and now it is 2019, why didn't the government institute a proxy and email filtering system that identifies the type of traffic going in and out of their network? The traffic should go to a SOC or central distribution center, from there, traffic should be filtered in and out of the network using NGFW, Proxies and NAC devices. If they centralized this traffic, then the threat would have been identified ahead of time due to well-trained professionals reviewing those external threats or so you hope.



"While there are problems with system connectivity, we have no reason to believe there is any public safety issue. We also have no indication that there was any unauthorized access of sensitive or private information. We also believe that full connectivity will be restored in the near future."

According to a news release from the governor's office, the declaration makes available state resources and allows for assistance from cybersecurity experts from the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, the Office of Technology Services and others to assist local governments in responding to and preventing future data loss. The state is in contact with parish school systems and governments across the state to assess further areas that may be at risk. 

The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) has activated its Crisis Action Team and also the Emergency Services Function-17 to coordinate the response to this cybersecurity incident. So far, the state is coordinating with the FBI, state agencies and higher education partners.

This is an interesting comment if the schools think they have not been compromised, then why is the FBI in the building, obviously, there is something because they initiated a "State of Emergency", that means there is a fire (metaphorically speaking).

In 2017, Gov. Edwards established the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission which is a statewide partnership comprised of key stakeholders, subject matter experts, and cybersecurity professionals from Louisiana's public sector, private industry, academia, and law enforcement.

Also, if Lousiana put together a "Cybersecurity Commission" in 2017, why are we having this discussion because they should have controls in place or at least a framework to address some of these issues (where is the assessment, compliance, and risk management framework)? Also, why didn't the schools have an external group monitoring traffic going in and out of the network (i.e. SOC).

The feds have a forensics division and analysts that will be able to address where the hack originated from, they just have to determine the culprit, where it originated and gather evidence to make their indictment stick.

Only time will tell.

T
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