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Files being held for ransom by hackers
06 December 2017, 09:37 | Cesar Cruz
Hackers hold NC county's computers ransom for 2 bitcoins
It is not believed that they had access to personal information.
The county government of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, has been hacked, leaving their server files being held for a ransom of 2 bitcoins.
Diorio said leaders are working with a technology consultant and haven't ruled out paying the ransom. "We believe this is the world of cyber criminals".
The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners received an update on the outage during its meeting on Tuesday night. More information on the county response won't be known until afternoon, he said.
The shutdown has affected email, printing and other county applications and disrupted routine business at most county offices, WSOC-TV reported.
On Tuesday, Mecklenburg County posted a statement on its website saying that, 'Each County department is activating its Continuity Of Operations Plan, which is created to address situations like this. "And they could go back for more (money)". The unknown ransomware subsequently encrypted the County's files. On Wednesday, Diorio expects to release a list of services that are unavailable because of the attack. He said local governments are "easy targets" because they typically have older equipment and software than corporations or the federal government.
The county manager isn't sure whether law enforcement has the bandwidth to figure out what is happening.
Mecklenburg County officials say that the hacking has affected its computer system and that a hacker is seeking a ransom of more than $23,000. "There's also the chance if they think you'll pay, they may try to get you to come back again". Is it actually cheaper to pay the hackers off to once again have access to critical files? While paying the ransom may be the only way to obtain the decryption key, there is no guarantee the hackers will honor their commitment and provide the key. At this time, there is no Estimated Time of Recovery (ETR) available.
But Flowers Grube said the problems don't extend to processing emergency calls, which is handled by the city of Charlotte.
Chairwoman of the Board Ella Scarborough disagrees and thinks the county shouldn't engage in the talks.
She says it's her call whether to pay them and she's debating doing that.
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