Officials decide to not pay $23000 ransom to hackers

Hackers freeze Mecklenburg County servers, demand $23000

- Mecklenburg County had an intrusion earlier this morning on their online and computer systems. A 1 p.m. deadline passed without any action, but county Manager Dena Diorio said the county has been in touch with the hackers.

Thomas says they have all the security layers needed to prevent these cyber attacks, but says it's always possible they could be a hacker's next target.

Diorio said Mecklenburg County officials are considering paying the ransom but are also evaluating how much it would cost to decrypt the files themselves. This included county email, printers and copy machines.

An email attachment opened by a county employee Tuesday initiated the attack.

"Our advice to folks is if planning to come and do business with the county and go to Code Enforcement, for example, they should call in advance and make sure that we're going to be available".


Things may also take longer at county offices because until the issue is resolved because they will be doing things on paper instead of electronically. "We really don't want people to just show up and then get mad when we can't help them", Diehl said.

There's no evidence Mecklenburg County was specifically targeted, county Public Information Director Danny Diehl said - but for obvious reasons, the decision of whether or not to pay the hackers was a complicated one. Sheriff Irwin Carmichael said it's taking longer to manually process arrestees, as well as inmates due to be released. Officials are working with a consultant to come up with a plan.

During a Wednesday press conference on Facebook Live, the county manager stressed that while 48 of the county's 500 servers were impacted, as well as multiple applications that run through those servers, no sensitive or confidential information is believed to have been compromised.

The county of more than 1 million residents includes North Carolina's largest city, Charlotte, though that municipality appears not to have been directly affected by the hack. Achieving that goal will require the county to use its backups to rebuild applications from scratch, the county said.

In a statement from the county she says, "I am confident that our backup data is secure and we have the resources to fix this situation ourselves", said Diorio. The hackers' threat isn't to publish the files, but to keep them inaccessible.

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