NC county's servers held for ransom by hackers

NC county's servers held for ransom by hackers

The county was experiencing a county-wide computer system outage Tuesday afternoon.

It was also unclear Wednesday morning whether the data breach was limited to just 30 servers, as first reported Tuesday night.

Diorio told county commissioners in a meeting that the files were being held for ransom as the hackers were demanding 2 bitcoins, which is now worth nearly $25,000 (at the time of this article's writing). A third-party group could restore said files, but using them could cost more than what the hackers were demanding.

If the county doesn't pay the hacker, they could attempt to decrypt the files but that would take more time and money.

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Because of a backup system, the hack didn't compromise any personal information or delete any data. She said the county has until 1 p.m. Wednesday to decide whether to pay ransom. Diorio said regardless whether or not county officials pay the ransom, the incident won't be resolved for several days. He's also the author of the Judd Ryker worldwide thriller series focused on a State Department crisis manager.

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County officials said this is a "new strain" of ransomware and are calling this situation "patient zero".

The shutdown has affected email, printing and other county applications and disrupted routine business at most county offices, WSOC-TV reported. (It's fantastic in this day and age that people still click on unusual email attachments.) Once the click took place, spyware and a worm were unleashed into the system, freezing all of the electronic files.

The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners received an update on the outage during its meeting on Tuesday night.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, a Mecklenburg County source said the outage was "believed to be due to an external threat". Typically, the code can only be obtained by paying the hackers.

She says it's her call whether to pay them and she's debating doing that.

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