Louisiana probing school cyberattacks

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide emergency declaration on Wednesday after a breach of security was discovered in several school systems throughout the state, and authorities are investigating to determine if more agencies have been compromised, his office said in a news release.

“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,” Edwards said.

School systems in Sabine, Morehouse, and Ouachita parishes in North Louisiana have been compromised, the release said, and authorities are investigating to determine if other agencies are at risk.

The declaration enables local governments to utilize cybersecurity experts from the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, the Office of Technology Services and others to resolve and prevent cyberattacks, according to the news release.

The threat is ongoing, according to the governor’s office.

In 2017, Edwards established a commission comprised of partners from the private sector, public sector, academia and law enforcement to respond to such threats.

“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,” Edwards said.

Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), the state Office of Technology Services, Louisiana State University and other agencies are determining how to move forward, the release said.

While this is the state’s first cybersecurity emergency activation, it follows other instances of cyber threats to state governments and politicians.

Two sources — one familiar with the campaign and another familiar with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — told CNN that in 2018 Democratic congressional candidate David Min’s campaign was hacked by a spear phishing attack. Min’s campaign spoke to the FBI about the incident. He lost the primary.

And in May of this year, Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis announced that the state would conduct a cybersecurity review of its election security after it was revealed that two counties were successfully hacked by Russian military intelligence during the 2016 election.

CNN’s Joe Sutton, Kevin Collier and Donie O’Sullivan contributed to this report.