Hackers hold NC county's computers ransom for 2 bitcoins

Hackers hold NC county's computers ransom for 2 bitcoins

Hackers hold NC county's computers ransom for 2 bitcoins

Do not forget to update your bookmarks. Departments including the sheriff's office and code enforcement have had to use paper records for at least some of their functions.

County Manager Dena Diorio said Tuesday she is debating whether to pay the ransom. The ransom price demanded by the hackers for that attack was a single bitcoin.

A couple county commissioners declined to talk about the attack, saying they don't fully understand the ins-and-outs of it. Commission Chair Ella Scarborough says she doesn't want the county to pay the ransom.

County spokesman Leo Caplanides said in an email that he could offer no further information.

According to Diorio, a county employee clicked an attachment in an email they shouldn't have, exposing the files to the hackers, who are demanding 2 Bitcoin, or $23,000, in ransom money to release the files.

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Mecklenburg, with Charlotte as the county seat, serves more than 1 million people as the state's most populous county. The city released a statement Wednesday that its separate computer systems have not been affected and that it has severed direct connections to county computers.

The sheriff's office said emergency calls are processed by the city and haven't been affected. That information was also being evaluated on Wednesday, WBTV was told.

One of the growing problems for businesses and governments today is having their electronic files hacked and held for ransom.

The county issued a statement on Twitter Wednesday asking residents to contact county offices before visiting to see whether they are offering services.

I don't think we were targeted. Just after 6 p.m., officials told reporters that 30 servers were being held for ransom. Diorio said no personal information was compromised during the hack.

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An expert on cyber security told The Associated Press that it's not uncommon for municipalities to be hacked with ransomware. Local news outlets do, however.

Federal and local authorities were not involved in the investigation Tuesday night.

Diorio said leaders are working with a technology consultant and haven't ruled out paying the ransom.

"Once you're in that situation, you really have no good option so a lot of people and companies end up paying", he said.

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