Deadline looms for decision by hacked North Carolina county

Deadline looms for decision by hacked North Carolina county

Deadline looms for decision by hacked North Carolina county

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio says that the county has backup data and other resources to restore its computer system but that the process could be time-consuming. "It will take time, but with patience and hard work, all of our systems will be back up and running as soon as possible".

During a press conference Wednesday, Diorio reiterated that no personal information of county workers or customers was compromised by the hackers, which has affected 48 of 500 servers.

The hackers holding Mecklenburg County's computer files hostage in exchange for payment are demanding substantially more money than first reported, WBTV has learned.

Diorio said the county decided not to pay after consulting cyber security experts.

But officials said December 6 that the county will not pay the more than $23,000 ransom.

The county said the systems that will be restored first will be those relating to the divisions of health and human services, courts and land use and environmental services. "And there was no guarantee that paying the criminals was a sure fix", Diorio said in a statement.

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At least two county commissioners said they had not been briefed on the additional information regarding the actual total of the ransom when contacted by WBTV on Wednesday morning. In the meantime, county officials have been forced to revert to paper systems.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anjanette Flowers Grube said in an email that deputies are manually processing suspects who have been arrested because its computer system was affected. Diorio said, for example, that the county's code enforcement office would have to rely on paper records until the outage is fixed because employees there can't access the electronic files they normally rely on.

"If you pay the bitcoin, there is always a risk they won't give you the encryption key", she told reporters.

"Once you're in that situation, you really have no good option, so a lot of people and companies end up paying", he said. It's unclear at this time how many county employees received the email. And credit card numbers aren't stored on a county server.

Such attacks are becoming more common - and more sophisticated. "So while they've frozen the servers, they've not compromised the data and not stolen data, as far as we know at this point", Diorio said Tuesday.

This is a developing story.

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