Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

NC county computer hackers demanding 'substantially' more than first reported

NC county computer hackers demanding 'substantially' more than first reported

Keep in mind to update your bookmarks. "But she said they are switching to paper records for work on Wednesday", according to the Charlotte Observer.

Officials in North Carolina's Mecklenburg County say hackers are demanding $23,000 in ransom by early Wednesday afternoon to release multiple files they are holding hostage on the county's servers. The ransom price demanded by the hackers for that attack was a single bitcoin.

After the deadline passed, it wasn't immediately clear what decision county officials made.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff spokeswoman Anjanette Flowers Grube said in an email that the problems don't extend to the processing of emergency calls, which is handled by the city of Charlotte.

On 5 December, the government for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina informed its Twitter followers that it was "experiencing a computer-system outage".

Vice Chair Jim Puckett said that the hackers are likely to comply because it makes them look more credible in future attacks. Charlotte officials say city government computers haven't been hacked. Diorio said departments including the code enforcement office were using paper records.

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.

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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.

Diorio told county commissioners in a meeting that the files were being held for ransom as the hackers were demanding 2 bitcoins, which is now worth nearly $25,000 (at the time of this article's writing).

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

Ross Rustici, senior director of intelligence services at the firm Cybereason, said ransomware schemes against local governments make the news every couple of months, but that they often tend to be smaller, rural areas.

Federal and local authorities were not involved in the investigation Tuesday night. She said leaders are considering paying the ransom.

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

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