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Louisiana OMV won't reopen until Monday after cyberattack

The governor announced Thursday that the Office of Motor Vehicles would remain closed until Nov. 25, one week after an attempted ransomware attack.

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana drivers trying to get license renewals, car registrations and other services through the Office of Motor Vehicles will have to keep waiting.

OMV offices around the state are shuttered until Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced. Officials believe by Nov. 25, one week after an attempted ransomware attack was discovered, the OMV's computer systems will be restored to working order. 

The governor made the announcement Thursday morning, apologizing for the inconvenience. 

An attempted cyberattack that disrupted state servers on Monday has caused larger problems at the Office of Motor Vehicles than at most other state agencies. The cyberattack was likely the result of a phishing email that was sent to various administrative state staff members.

Plans to reopen OMV locations keep getting pushed back, as the state’s technology services office continues its work to restore network and online services.

"[The attack] initiated sort of right as we were walking in the door for the day," said Dustin Glover, the state's chief information security officer. "The goal of the attacker is to lock you out of your data so they can get some money."

Glover said that despite the disruption, the state caught the problem early and began working it immediately. He said that out of 5,000 servers, 132 were confirmed to have been compromised and that 1,600 of 35,000 work stations were compromised.

The Office of Motor Vehicles issued a statement Wednesday that gave no estimate for opening its locations around Louisiana. The agency said it will announce openings as electronic services are restored, tested and ready for use.

The effort to clean up all of those stations takes time, according to Neal Underwood, the deputy chief information officer.

"We have to go across the state and touch each and every one of those work stations to take all of the infected software off and put clean software on. We are about 50 percent through the re-imaging effort at this time. It's taking a little longer than we originally anticipated."

The cyberattack was discovered Monday and disrupted business operations and online services across nearly every state agency. All 79 Office of Motor Vehicles across Louisiana, including the one in New Orleans, were unable to do business.

State websites and many online government services were back online Tuesday, according to Jacques Berry, the Director of Policy and Communications.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office says some services started returning Monday afternoon. But it could take days to restore all websites and online operations.

Edwards’ office says the Office of Technology Services identified a “cybersecurity threat” that affected some computer servers. The office took all its servers offline as a precaution.

RELATED: OMV remains closed for 3rd day after ransomware attack

RELATED: How cyberattackers tried to ransomware Louisiana computer servers

The threat was discovered two days after Louisiana’s election for governor when the Secretary of State’s website was a vital link for information.

The governor said no data was lost in the attempted attack and the state did not pay a ransom. State police and federal agencies are investigating.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.