According to reports, hackers hacked several servers of a county government at Mecklenburg County, North Carolina demanding a ransom of $23,000 .They locked local official’s computer systems that manage inmate populations, child support, and other social services. But, the county isn’t planning to pay the ransom.
Though Officials did consider paying the fine, but experts said the amount of time it would have taken for the system to be restored afterward would have been nearly as long as it’ll take them to restore it themselves from the backups.
In a statement Mecklenburg County manager Dena R. Diorio said “I am confident that our backup data is secure and we have the resources to fix this situation ourselves though it will take time, but with patience and hard work, all of our systems will be back up and running as soon as possible.”
However, over one million residents that live in the region could be affected by the outage, with many key services like electronic tax payments, community support services and even jail services are now offline.
Local authorities said Health and Human Services, the court system and Land Use and Environmental Services are being prioritized and residents in the state’s most populous metropolitan area are being urged to stay patient while digital services are restored.
The hacker is thought to be located in either Iran or Ukraine, though details are still missing. The state’s largest city issued a statement that its separate computer systems have not been affected and that it severed direct connections to county computers.
Forensic examination shows 48 of the county’s 500 servers were affected, Diorio said, adding that county government officials believe that the hacker wasn’t able to gain access to individuals’ health, credit card or social security information.
The attack reportedly unfolded after a worker at Mecklenburg County clicked on an infected email.
A security expert said cyber attacks on local governments aren’t unusual. For example, a hacking attack in late 2016 on San Francisco’s mass transit system led its operators to allow free rides over part of a weekend because of data problems.