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Hackers Hold Local Government Computers for Ransom and Demand Two Bitcoin

Hackers Hold Local Government Computers for Ransom and Demand Two Bitcoin

A hacker's deadline has passed for a North Carolina county to pay for access to frozen computer data, but it's not clear if local officials paid ransom.

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.

County Manager Dina Diorio first confirmed to reporters Tuesday night that county 30 servers were being held for ransom.

He said it's not unusual for businesses and local governments to pay the ransom.

Diorio told WSOC-TV the county is considering paying up, but worry about what could happen afterwards. Some website functions still weren't working, and a county spokesman said he couldn't release any further information.

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.

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"Our advice to folks is if planning to come and do business with the county and go to Code Enforcement, for example, they should call in advance and make sure that we're going to be available".

For the time being, the county will have to work on paper instead of electronically for some services. On Wednesday, Diorio expects to release a list of services that are unavailable because of the attack.

Federal and local authorities were not involved in the investigation Tuesday night.

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

The county can restore the files itself, but Diorio says, that could take a long time and come at an even larger cost. "There's also the chance if they think you'll pay, they may try to get you to come back again". Typically, the code can only be obtained by paying the hackers. Charlotte officials have said their computers aren't affected by the hacking. "We really don't want people to just show up and then get mad when we can't help them", Diehl said.

"They are like bullies in my opinion, and I don't like to pay bullies", Scarborough said.