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Hackers hold NC county's computers ransom for 2 bitcoins

06 December 2017

The county government of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, has been hacked, leaving their server files being held for a ransom of 2 bitcoins.

Mike Collins gets an update from Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio on how the county is handling the attack and what's next for the retrieval of information.

WBTV says county officials were considering whether to pay the ransom. Diorio said regardless whether or not county officials pay the ransom, the incident won't be resolved for several days.

The situation is the latest example of cyber criminals deploying a form of software known as ransomware, which freezes up files on a computer network until someone enters a decryption code to unlock them.

The person wants two bitcoins, with a value of about $25,000, for the files, Diorio told the station.

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

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.

If you're planning on heading to a county office for business purposes, you need to contact the office ahead of time to make sure you can be helped, county officials said.

The county is composing a list of all services that it won't be able to be offered because of the hack.

For the time being, the county will have to work on paper instead of electronically for some services.

There's a risk you don't get the decryption key and don't get your files back. Is it actually cheaper to pay the hackers off to once again have access to critical files?

Mecklenburg County government was crippled by a ransomware attack on Tuesday with hackers demanding $23,000 to get back the county's data.

The attack happened when a county employee opened an email attachment that infected the county's computer system with spyware and a worm.

WBTV has learned the hackers are demanding substantially more money than first reported, according to sources.

Chairwoman of the Board Ella Scarborough disagrees and thinks the county shouldn't engage in the talks.

Hackers hold NC county's computers ransom for 2 bitcoins