December 07, 2017
County Refuses to Pay Hackers after Ransomware Attack
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina has refused to give into hackers after falling victim to a ransomware attack. Ransomware locked their files and demanded a payment of two bitcoins (about $24,000) after an employee opened a phishing email attachment. Unfortunately, email phishing scams and a lack of cybersecurity training are some of the most common tactics used by hackers to gain access to your files and information.
The deadline to pay was 1 PM ET on Wednesday, but the county was aware of the risks of paying the ransom and decided they wouldn’t give in. According to the county, it would have taken days to restore their system even if they paid off the hackers, so the decision not to pay won't lengthen the restore time. This has slowed the county to a crawl and forced them to manually process arrests, but they are still able to handle emergency calls as normal. However, the county has recommended residents contact the offices before visiting to ensure they are currently offering the desired services.
If you want to avoid falling victim to attack like this and learn more about the current state of ransomware, check out our full ransomware report!