Hackers hold county files hostage

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County Manager Dena Diorio joins host Mike Collins with the latest on Mecklenburg County's ransomware attack. and Todd Moss, once the top USA diplomat in West Africa, talks about his experiences and diplomacy, as well as his series of fictional global thrillers inspired by his diplomatic work. Is it actually cheaper to pay the hackers off to once again have access to critical files?

As of Wednesday morning, the hacker's identity and location were unknown.

Deputies processed arrests by hand and building code officers used paper records Wednesday as one of North Carolina's largest counties considered how to respond to a hacker who froze county servers and demanded ransom.

The official also explained that the county faces a dilemma in deciding whether to pay. He's also the author of the Judd Ryker global thriller series focused on a State Department crisis manager.

WSOC reporter Joe Bruno tweeted that it is unclear where the attack originated, but the hackers are in a time zone seven hours ahead of Charlotte, which would include Russian Federation, where cybercrime is frequently based.

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County officials said this is a "new strain" of ransomware and are calling this situation "patient zero".

County Manager Dena Diorio said that the hackers got into the county's system when an employee clicked on an email attachment they shouldn't have.

It is not believed that they had access to personal information.

Diorio told WSOC-TV the county is considering paying up, but worry about what could happen afterwards. "But she said they are switching to paper records for work on Wednesday", according to the Charlotte Observer.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, a Mecklenburg County source said the outage was "believed to be due to an external threat".

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The county is working with a third-party technology company to figure out what to do.

She says it's her call whether to pay them and she's debating doing that.

"Absolutely not. If they can make us pay now for that, they'll make us pay for something later", says Scarborough. "So that's the conversation that we are continuing to have". "If you are planning to go to a County office to conduct business, please contact the office prior to going to ensure you can be served".

No other details have been released.

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