Economy

Officials decide to not pay $23000 ransom to hackers

Officials decide to not pay $23000 ransom to hackers

According to CBS affiliate WBTV, hackers were asking Mecklenburg County to pay $23,000 by 1:00pm Wednesday.

"It will take time, but with patience and hard work, all of our systems will be back up and running as soon as possible", Diorio added.

"The important thing is that nobody's personal information or health information has been compromised as far as we know at this point".

An expert on cyber security told The Associated Press that it's not uncommon for municipalities to be hacked with ransomware.

It will take days to restore Mecklenburg County's computer system, local officials said, leaving residents in North Carolina's most populous metro area facing delays or disruptions to county services.

The compromised servers have been quarantined, and even potentially healthy parts of the system were shut down to avoid spreading the malicious program, said Keith Gregg, the county's chief information officer. "And there was no guarantee that paying the criminals was a sure fix".

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Hackers were able to lock down several servers of a county government in North Carolina with ransomware this week, locking local officials out of computer systems that manage inmate populations, child support, and other social services.

County officials are trying to decide whether to pay the ransom or begin what could be a lengthy process of restoring the servers from backups.

"The city has severed direct connection to Mecklenburg County systems, including email", D'Elosua Vastola said in the statement. "There's multiple departments that are going back to old-school paper processes", county spokesman Danny Diehl said around 9:30 a.m. It's unclear at this time how many county employees received the email.

"Once you're in that situation, you really have no good option, so a lot of people and companies end up paying", he said.

During a speaking engagement at Charlotte's Kennedy Middle School, Governor Roy Cooper said the county did the right thing by not paying the ransom. And credit card numbers aren't stored on a county server. 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. Achieving that goal will require the county to use its backups to rebuild applications from scratch, the county said.