Hackers hold NC county's computers ransom for 2 bitcoins

Security Breach

The breach reportedly happened when a county employee clicked on a bad attachment in an email, exposing the files.

County Manage Dena Diorio says she's still deciding whether to fulfill that command.

County Manager Dena Diorio joins host Mike Collins with the latest on Mecklenburg County's ransomware attack. and Todd Moss, once the top United States diplomat in West Africa, talks about his experiences and diplomacy, as well as his series of fictional worldwide thrillers inspired by his diplomatic work.

Mecklenburg County isn't the only local government system hacked for a bitcoin ransom lately.

It is still not clear whether the county will pay the ransom.

The county of more than 1 million residents includes North Carolina's largest city, Charlotte, though that municipality appears not to have been directly affected by the hack.

Charlotte government officials released a statement Wednesday saying that its separate computer systems have not been affected and that it has severed direct connections to county computers.

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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.

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.

"There's a risk you don't get the decryption key and don't get your files back", Diorio said.

WSOC reporter Joe Bruno tweeted that it is unclear where the attack originated, but the hackers are in a time zone seven hours ahead of Charlotte, which would include Russian Federation, where cybercrime is frequently based.

"Absolutely not. If they can make us pay now for that, they'll make us pay for something later", says Scarborough. He said local governments are "easy targets" because they typically have older equipment and software than corporations or the federal government. The deadline for paying the ransom is 1pm EST today.

"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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