Hackers Hit North Carolina County Government and Demand Two Bitcoin Ransom


Hackers Hit North Carolina County Government and Demand Two Bitcoin Ransom

Officials in Mecklenburg, N.C. must make a hard decision by 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday: They must choose whether to pay two bitcoins-currently worth about $25,000-to hackers who are holding the county's computer files for ransom.

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

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 said regardless whether or not county officials pay the ransom, the incident won't be resolved for several days.

Cyber experts believe the hackers operated from Iran or Ukraine and infected the servers with a new strain of ransomware known as LockCrypt, she said.

The hackers originally gave officials until 1 p.m. Wednesday to pay two Bitcoin in exchange for an encryption key that would release the files.

She says it's her call whether to pay them and she's debating doing that.

The shutdown is affecting email, printing and other county applications, including the ability to conduct business at most county offices.

On Tuesday, Mecklenburg County posted a statement on its website saying that, 'Each County department is activating its Continuity Of Operations Plan, which is created to address situations like this. On the other hand, hackers may not handover the key to unlock the files and come back for more money.

That list will be released Wednesday. Now that ransom price is being doubled as hackers have hit the Mecklenburg, North Carolina county government and are demanding 2 bitcoins. "There's also the chance if they think you'll pay, they may try to get you to come back again". She said she is the one who will make a decision whether to pay the hacker by Wednesday afternoon. A third-party group could restore said files, but using them could cost more than what the hackers were demanding.

Chairwoman of the Board Ella Scarborough disagrees and thinks the county shouldn't engage in the talks.