Ransomware attacks like one on Mecklenburg Co. government not a - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Ransomware attacks like one on Mecklenburg Co. government not a new crime

Computer servers at Mecklenburg County government offices are being held for ransom by a hacker. (Source: WBTV) Computer servers at Mecklenburg County government offices are being held for ransom by a hacker. (Source: WBTV)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

Computer servers at Mecklenburg County government offices are being held for ransom by a hacker.

According to WBTV, the county was experiencing a county-wide computer system outage Tuesday afternoon. Just after 6 p.m., officials told reporters that 30 servers were being held for ransom.

The county is reportedly considering whether to pay the hacker's request of two bitcoins (approx. $23,000) by 1 p.m. Wednesday.

 "I'm not surprised by any of those stories," New Hanover County IT director Leslie Chaney told WECT in October. "A lot of the breaches start with a human action such as following the link in the phishing email."

At that time, Chaney said the county has fallen victim to six ransomware attacks in her 13 years on the job here. But she said the county has never paid the ransom or lost any of the data.

When Montgomery County in Alabama fell victim to ransomware attacks earlier this year, county commissioners paid hackers nearly $40,000 free up data.

In a report from WSFA, Montgomery County officials said the backup servers were more than 90 percent full and they planned to wait until the next budget passed to upgrade the servers.

Chaney says her department takes extra precautions to make sure they don't have the same issues.

"We have a person whose job it is to make sure those backups are successful every evening," Chaney said. "At any given time, we have three copies of every data set."

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