Like any other entities, city and county governments rely on computing power to run their municipalities. Often times these small cities and counties are targets for hackers. Such is the story of Mecklenburg County in North Carolina. Mecklenburg County is home to Charlotte and the total estimated population of the county is just over 1-million people. Recently the county government was hit by ransomware and they have been frozen out of important servers since Monday. The hackers are asking for $23,000USD worth of bitcoin as payment and the county is refusing to pay.
“I am confident that our backup data is secure and we have the resources to fix this situation ourselves,” said County Manager Dena Diorio, in a statement. “It will take time, but with patience and hard work, all of our systems will be back up and running as soon as possible.”
County Manager @DenaDiorio announces that the County will not pay ransomware criminals $23,000 to unlock many of the County’s applications that have been frozen since Monday. https://t.co/QVnUeok032 pic.twitter.com/ESmCC7ctlJ
— Mecklenburg County (@MeckCounty) December 6, 2017
Systems affected by this ransomware include human resources, finance, parks and recreation, social services and more. The county has switched to paper processes to continue to serve the community until this gets resolved.
“There is no evidence at this time that personal, customer or employee information or data has been compromised,” it said. “The County is consulting with Federal, state and private stakeholders, including the FBI and Secret Service, while the County works to restore services,” it added.
It seems hackers are targeting institutions such as these as many of them have weak cybersecurity and they are dependent on their systems to serve the community. It will be interesting to see what the county does at this point, since the deadline given by the hackers passed yesterday.
Last Updated on December 7, 2017.