Lines wrapped around the corner early Monday morning with people waiting to get into the Baton Rouge Office of Motor Vehicles for the first ti…
Most OMV offices still closed two weeks after ransomware attack, commissioner says
3 months ago The Advocate 0
Nearly three-quarters of Louisiana’s motor vehicle offices remained closed Monday as state workers continued to respond to the lingering effects of a cyber attack that hit state servers two weeks ago.
Karen St. Germain, Commissioner of Louisiana’s Office of Motor Vehicles, said 28% of the state’s 79 OMV locations were up and running as of lunchtime Monday, with another six that will have soft openings later in the day.
Still, none of the offices that are open are fully functional, she said, with license reinstatements still down at most locations. The agency has opened several of the offices in bigger metro areas like Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans, and many of them are processing vehicle registrations and drivers licenses.
The agency is opening offices “as fast as we possibly can,” St. Germain said, adding officials worked through the Thanksgiving weekend to restore service at the locations.
While people are unable to reinstate their driver’s licenses, Louisiana State Police said its officers would continue to use discretion for people driving with recently-expired licenses until OMV offices reopen.
Two weeks ago, a ransomware attack–triggered by what officials suspect was an employee opening a sketchy link–hit several state servers including the Office of Motor Vehicles. The state quickly shut down network traffic to prevent the spread, and have subsequently brought most of the state’s offices back online. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state did not pay a ransom or lose data, and he said the effects could have lasted weeks or months under a worst-case scenario. Edwards also declared a state of emergency following the cyber attack.
The computers at OMV offices have to be “reimaged,” meaning software must be wiped and reinstalled. The computer system is about 40 years old, St. Germain said, adding to the problems.
Monday’s ransomware attack, which crippled about 10% of the state’s computer network servers just hours after votes were tallied in statewide …
Nick Menale, a public affairs lieutenant with Louisiana State Police, said the public can check to see if their city’s location is open at https://offices.omv.la.gov/.
Officials declined to offer a timeline for when OMV offices might be all open and fully functional.
“It’s just a fluid situation,” Menale said. “They’re literally having to go to each computer at each office and reimage it and get it back online.”