News Worms
News Worms


Files being held for ransom by hackers

Files being held for ransom by hackers

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.

On Twitter, Sandy D'Elosua Vastola, the city of Charlotte's director of communications and marketing, indicated its servers are "on completely different systems" and were not affected by the breach.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anjanette Flowers Grube said in an email that deputies are manually processing suspects who have been arrested because its computer system was affected.

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.

But officials said December 6 that the county will not pay the more than $23,000 ransom.

Such attacks are becoming more common - and more sophisticated. She said leaders are considering paying the ransom. A security expert said he reads about a local government being targeted every couple of months. Paying the ransom can often be cheaper than other ways of recovering the data. "We really don't want people to just show up and then get mad when we can't help them", Diehl said. This included county email, printers and copy machines.

Diorio said all servers were operating, but information on scheduled medical trips by some 300 patients were lost and a domestic violence hotline was sending calls directly to voicemail. And the social services department is working to recreate its daily itinerary of 1,600 rides for elderly patients with medical appointments.

Things may also take longer at county offices because until the issue is resolved because they will be doing things on paper instead of electronically.

Diorio said county computers began to suffer Monday from the attack, which was publicly revealed the next day. All county-wide Information Technology Services were shut down until further notice.

In a statement from the county she says, "I am confident that our backup data is secure and we have the resources to fix this situation ourselves", said Diorio. But without getting the compromised servers unlocked, the county will have to rebuild significant parts of the system. "It will take time, but with patience and hard work, all of our systems will be back up and running as soon as possible".

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