NC county's servers held for ransom by hackers

NC county's servers held for ransom by hackers

The problem was discovered after county employees began experiencing a county-wide computer system outage on Tuesday afternoon.

Diorio told WSOC-TV that she doesn't believe the hackers have access to personal information.

I don't think we were targeted.

Mecklenburg County government was crippled by a ransomware attack on Tuesday with hackers demanding $23,000 to get back the county's data.

The hackers originally gave officials until 1 p.m. Wednesday to pay two Bitcoin in exchange for an encryption key that would release the files.

Vice Chair Jim Puckett said that the hackers are likely to comply because it makes them look more credible in future attacks.

WBTV says county officials were considering whether to pay the ransom. According to the county manager, departments are "up and running, but slower".

The ransomware was quickly spotted and isolated, but still affected 48 of the county's 500 servers, Diorio said.

The shutdown is affecting email, printing and other county applications, including the ability to conduct business at most county offices.

"Things that we were doing electronically, we are now moving to paper", Diorio said. She said leaders are considering paying the ransom. (It's wonderful in this day and age that people still click on odd email attachments.) Once the click took place, spyware and a worm were unleashed into the system, freezing all of the electronic files.

"It's concerning when this happens to government, it's concerning to an individual when this happens to themselves", County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour said Tuesday night.

Diorio is now working with a "third party forensic expert" to navigate the county's next steps. Typically, the code can only be obtained by paying the hackers. "So that's the conversation that we are continuing to have". Anyone planning to go to a county office to conduct business should contact the office first to ensure they can be served.

No other details have been released.