North Carolina county's ransomware recovery will take days


Mecklenburg County officials have chose to not pay hackers $23,000 to unfreeze files on dozens of affected servers.

"I am confident that our backup data is secure and we have the resources to fix this situation ourselves", said Diorio.

Diorio said county technology officials will use backup data from before the ransomware attack to restore the system, but the rebuild will take "patience and hard work".

"We are open for business and we are slow, but the good news is that based on what we know today, there's no indication that any data has actually been lost, or personal or health information has been compromised", Diorio said then, noting that it may be several days before a "methodical, detailed review of all servers" is complete and services are completely restored. But despite the outages, the county isn't planning to pay the $23,000 ransom demanded by the hackers.

Diorio said the county decided not to pay after consulting cyber security experts.

WBTV says county officials were considering whether to pay the ransom. She said the county acted quickly to shut down services to prevent the spread of the virus after it was discovered. "And there was no guarantee that paying the criminals was a sure fix".

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The hackers originally gave officials until 1 p.m. Wednesday to pay two Bitcoin in exchange for an encryption key that would release the files. Deputies were processing jail inmates by hand and building code inspectors switched to paper records after a county employee unleashed the malicious software earlier this week by opening an email attachment. He said he was told the county hopes to fix the problem "this week".

"The city has severed direct connection to Mecklenburg County systems, including email", D'Elosua Vastola said in the statement.

The county of more than 1 million residents includes Charlotte, but the city government appears not to have been compromised by the attack. Credit card information is not saved on servers. On Tuesday, employees couldn't print, call centers were down, and the code enforcement office had no access to electronic files stored on servers.

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.

Stay tuned to WFAE for updates on this developing story.