Hackers hold NC county's computers ransom for 2 bitcoins


There's a risk you don't get the decryption key and don't get your files back. She said leaders are considering paying the ransom.

Hackers are holding county office servers for ransom in the most populous county in North Carolina.

County Manager Dena Diorio said that the hackers got into the county's system when an employee clicked on an email attachment they shouldn't have.

It is not believed that they had access to personal information.

As of late Wednesday morning, county staff was working to determine whether the hacker was demanding two bitcoins for the information on each of the 30 servers or whether the demand was for two bitcoin for each file on the 30 servers.

In recent years, companies including Equifax and Target, and also government bodies were attacked by hackers. The county has not released the email said.

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If the county doesn't pay the hacker, they could attempt to decrypt the files but that would take more time and money.

"We don't believe we were targeted", Diorio told WSOC. Instead, it wiped the entire computer system and reset it, which almost two weeks, CNN reported. This points to the possibility of the same happening with Mecklenburg County as well. International Business Times reports that the attachment also loaded a crypto-mining program created to consume the County's collective network CPU to mine for Bitcoin.

In September, it happened to Montgomery County, Alabama, and it paid thousands of dollars in ransom to hackers in order to recover stolen government data, according to the political website The Hill.

"They want people to know if you pay them, they will give it back", Puckett said. Or maybe they simply wouldn't return access to the files even after the ransom gets paid. The hackers demanded $35,000 in the electronic currency bitcoin, but the library refused to pay.

When Montgomery County in Alabama fell victim to ransomware attacks earlier this year, county commissioners paid hackers almost $40,000 free up data. It's "cheaper to pay than to fix it on our own", Diorio said.