Tags: mecklenburg county | hackers | demand | ransom

Mecklenburg County Hackers Take Over Servers, Demand Ransom

Image: Mecklenburg County Hackers Take Over Servers, Demand Ransom
Hackers are demanding two bitcoin ($23,000) as ransom for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina's servers. (Igor Stevanovic/Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 December 2017 03:29 PM

Hackers shut down North Carolina's Mecklenburg County servers on Tuesday, giving officials a 1 p.m. Wednesday deadline to pay a ransom of at least $23,000 in the form of two bitcoin to get access to their files again.

Mecklenburg County includes North Carolina’s most populous city, Charlotte, and has more than 1 million residents. The hack shut down county applications including email and printing, making it impossible to do business at most county offices, USA Today reported. The jail is on manual controls, and bookings and releases are not expected to be affected.

A source at the county who did not want to be identified told WISTV it was unclear whether the two bitcoin demanded was for all of the files being ransomed or whether the ransom was actually two bitcoin for each of the 30 servers that were affected by the hack, which would total a minimum of $690,000.

County Manager Dina Diorio told WCNC a Mecklenburg County employee clicked on an email attachment that exposed the files to hackers and said the county is considering paying the ransom, but may also work to decrypt the 48 affected files on their own.  

“There’s a risk you don’t get the decryption key and don’t get your files back,” Diorio told local news station WSOC, adding that hackers may also decide to ask for more money.

The county has hired two cybersecurity firms to help resolve the situation. Diorio told WSOC no data has been lost and no personal information has been compromised.

The FBI is aware of the hack and is monitoring the situation, WSOC reported. 

Officials were able to determine the hackers are in a time zone seven hours ahead of the county, which includes parts of Russia, Ukraine, and Iran, WSOC reported. 

The Charlotte Observer said normal county procedures would mean servers were backed up over the weekend, so most information should be recoverable that way if the county decides not to pay the ransom.

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Hackers shut down North Carolina's Mecklenburg County servers on Tuesday, giving officials a 1 p.m. Wednesday deadline to pay a ransom of at least $23,000 in the form of two bitcoin to get access to their files again.
mecklenburg county, hackers, demand, ransom
329
2017-29-06
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 03:29 PM
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