The Latest: North Carolina county won't pay hacker ransomDecember 6, 2017 10:21pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a hacking attack on a North Carolina county (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

A North Carolina county says it won't pay a hacker ransom to unlock data on county servers frozen by malicious software.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio announced late Wednesday that the county has decided not to pay the more than $23,000 demanded by cyber criminals to unlock the data.

Diorio said that the county has backup data and other resources to restore its computer system but that the process could be time consuming. She said the county consulted with cybersecurity experts before making the decision.

She said that it would still have taken days to fix the system even after paying the ransom, and it won't take much longer to rebuild it without cooperating with the criminals.


2:35 p.m.

A North Carolina county says it's still weighing options on how to deal with data frozen by a hacker.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio told reporters Wednesday afternoon that local officials haven't decided whether to pay a hacker who's ransoming county data frozen on dozens of servers.

Diorio said that it appears the hacking came from Iran or the Ukraine but didn't elaborate. A forensic review is underway.

Whether or not the ransom is paid, Diorio says it will take days to get county computer systems running in normal fashion. A 1 p.m. deadline set by hackers has passed, but Diorio says talks with the hacker continue.

County services ranging from transportation to Medicaid patients to processing of arrestees have been slowed as employees use manual instead of computer-based controls.


1:30 p.m.

A hacker's deadline has passed for a North Carolina county to pay for access to frozen computer data, but it's not clear if local officials paid ransom.

Mecklenburg County officials said that a hacker that was ransoming data on its servers gave a 1 p.m. Wednesday deadline to pay more than $23,000 to get the data back.

After 1 p.m., multiple county sites including an online jail inmate search were still not functioning.

County spokesman Leo Caplanides said in an email that he could offer no further information. The county manager has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference to discuss the case.


12:20 p.m.

North Carolina's largest city says its computer system hasn't been affected by a hacking attack on the surrounding county.

Charlotte government officials released a statement Wednesday saying that its separate computer systems have not been affected and that it has severed direct connections to county computers. The release noted that the city and county maintain separate servers.

Mecklenburg County officials say that a hacker is seeking a ransom of more than $23,000 after freezing county computer files. Departments including the sheriff's office and code enforcement have had to use paper records for at least some of their functions.

The sheriff's office said emergency calls are processed by the city and haven't been affected.


11:30 a.m.

A North Carolina sheriff's office is checking in arrestees by hand after a hacking attack on county government computers.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff spokeswoman Anjanette Flowers Grube said in an email that the problems don't extend to the processing of emergency calls, which is handled by the city of Charlotte. Charlotte officials have said their computers aren't affected by the hacking.

The sheriff's office also posted a message that its website wasn't able to process requests for information on jail inmates that are normally easily accessed by the public.

Mecklenburg County officials say that the hacking has affected its computer system and that a hacker is seeking a ransom of more than $23,000.


10:30 a.m.

A deadline is approaching for one of North Carolina's largest counties to respond to a hacker who froze county servers and is demanding ransom.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio told reporters that local officials face a deadline of 1 p.m. Wednesday to decide whether to pay a ransom of two bitcoin, or more than $23,000.

On Wednesday morning, some county sites such as the jail inmate search function were down. Diorio said departments including the code enforcement office were using paper records.

The county issued a statement on Twitter Wednesday asking residents to contact county offices before visiting to see whether they are offering services.

Diorio said leaders are working with a technology consultant and haven't ruled out paying the ransom. Charlotte officials say city government computers haven't been hacked.

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