Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Server files held for ransom by hacker, Meck. Co. manager says

Server files held for ransom by hacker, Meck. Co. manager says

The hacker wants two bitcoins, roughly worth about $23,000, for the files, according to Diorio.

The official also explained that the county faces a dilemma in deciding whether to pay.

Vice Chair Jim Puckett said that the hackers are likely to comply because it makes them look more credible in future attacks.

Anyone who made transportation reservations through DSS/MTS, including reservations made for bus passes and vendor transportation for trips scheduled through December 11, is asked to call Customer Connections to confirm transportation.

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.

"We don't believe we were targeted", Diorio told WSOC.

Mike Collins gets an update from Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio on how the county is handling the attack and what's next for the retrieval of information. He's also the author of the Judd Ryker global thriller series focused on a State Department crisis manager.

The ransomware was quickly spotted and isolated, but still affected 48 of the county's 500 servers, Diorio said.

County officials said this is a "new strain" of ransomware and are calling this situation "patient zero".

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

"She said an example of the problem is the county's code enforcement office, where much of the work is done electronically". The attachment contained a "worm" that began encrypting the county's files.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, a Mecklenburg County source said the outage was "believed to be due to an external threat".

The county is working with a third-party technology company to figure out what to do. The deadline for paying the ransom is 1pm EST today.

Paying the hacker comes with risks. "So that's the conversation that we are continuing to have".

Anyone planning to go to a county office to conduct business is asked to call the office prior to their visit to make sure they can actually be served.

No other details have been released.

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