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North Carolina county decides against paying $23K ransom to hackers

North Carolina county decides against paying $23K ransom to hackers
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Local officials in North Carolina have decided not to pay hackers who are demanding a $23,000 ransom in return for stolen data.

Dena Diorio, the manager of Mecklenburg County, announced the decision Wednesday afternoon hours after telling reporters that officials were weighing whether to pay the ransom to retrieve the data. 

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

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Hackers paralyzed some key county operations on Tuesday after the ransomware made its way into county computer systems. Diorio said earlier Wednesday that 48 of the county’s 500 servers had been impacted by the attack.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have both reached out to the county to offer assistance, she said.

Diorio said that the county would use backup data available before the incident to rebuild county systems from scratch, a process that could take at least several days.

“It was going to take almost as long to fix the system after paying the ransom as it does to fix it ourselves,” Diorio said. “And there was no guarantee that paying the criminals was a sure fix.”

Hackers demanded two bitcoin, amounting to $23,000, in exchange for unlocking the files.