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HACKERS #HIT NORTH #CAROLINA COUNTY #GOVERNMENT AND #DEMAND TWO #BITCOIN #RANSOM

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

he county government of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, has been hacked, leaving their server files being held for a ransom of 2 bitcoins.


One of the growing problems for businesses and governments today is having their electronic files hacked and held for ransom. Last month, computer hackers targeted the Sacramento Regional Transit system, resulting in 30 million files being deleted. The ransom price demanded by the hackers for that attack was a single bitcoin. Now that ransom price is being doubled as hackers have hit the Mecklenburg, North Carolina county government and are demanding 2 bitcoins.

DON’T OPEN THAT ATTACHMENT!

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’s amazing in this day and age that people still click on strange email attachments.) Once the click took place, spyware and a worm were unleashed into the system, freezing all of the electronic files.

Diorio told county commissioners in a meeting that the files were being held for ransom as the hackers were demanding 2 bitcoins, which is now worth almost $25,000 (at the time of this article’s writing). The deadline for paying the ransom is 1pm EST today.

Dena Diorio told reporters that the county was considering paying the ransom, but she did express some concerns over doing so, stating:

There’s a risk you don’t get the decryption key and don’t get your files back. There’s also the chance if they think you’ll pay, they may try to get you to come back again.

IS IT CHEAPER TO PAY THE RANSOM?

Local governments and businesses do find themselves in a quandary when targeted by hackers. Is it actually cheaper to pay the hackers off to once again have access to critical files? A third-party group could restore said files, but using them could cost more than what the hackers were demanding. Of course, as Diorio mentioned above, paying off a hacker could embolden them to attack you again.

This difficult decision is summed up by Diorio when she said:

We need to determine how much it would cost (to pay) versus fixing it on our own. There are a lot of places that pay because it’s cheaper.

The short deadline is obviously putting pressure on the country commissioners to capitulate to the hackers. As of now, the county is switching to paper records for their employees today.

As for the hacking attack, County Manager Dena Diorio summed it up by saying:

I don’t think we were targeted. I don’t think we were at fault. There have been many, many institutions that have been breached. I think we do everything we can to keep our firewall secure.

The post HACKERS #HIT NORTH #CAROLINA COUNTY #GOVERNMENT AND #DEMAND TWO #BITCOIN #RANSOM appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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County #still weighing #options after #hacking

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The Latest on a hacking attack on a North Carolina county (all times local):

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The post County #still weighing #options after #hacking appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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County Officials Didn’t Protect Computer Systems from Obvious Hacking Risks, Auditors Say

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Orange County officials failed to implement essential safeguards to protect county computer systems, which left the county unnecessarily vulnerable to hacking and other malicious activity until the problems were uncovered in recent months by a comprehensive audit. “We found that physical and [software access] security to data and programs WAS…

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ISIS-linked group claims hack of Leon County website

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

No important data was compromised in a hack Thursday of Leon County’s government website by an ISIS-linked group. Up for only minutes on the Leon County homepage, the message accompanied by a photo of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and audio of a 1964 Ronald Regan speech was gone…

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Parents at fault when students take guns to school, Duval County board member says

To Purchase This Product/Services, Go To The Store Link Above Or Go To http://www.become007.com/store/ At least 12 times in the past school year, Duval students were caught with guns at school and half those weapons had belonged to a parent, a relative or, in one …

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Tennille Whitaker Elko County teacher arrested after 2 year sex relationships with 2 students

To Purchase This Product/Services, Go To The Store Link Above Or Go To http://www.become007.com/store/ Tennille Whitaker Elko County, Nevada teacher is arrested after allegedly maintaining sexual relationships with two male students over the course of two years. Also joining the ever expanding legion of female …

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La Plata County deputies warn about online dating scam

To Purchase This Product/Services, Go To The Store Link Above Or Go To http://www.become007.com/store/ Deputies are warning of a new dating website scam involving underage people in La Plata County. The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office says someone is claiming to be a law enforcement …

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Couple convicted of child abuse caught in Franklin County

To Purchase This Product/Services, Go To The Store Link Above Or Go To http://www.become007.com/store/ A couple convicted in Athens County Common Pleas Court last week of felony child abuse of their infant daughter are now awaiting extradition from Franklin County after being arrested there Monday, …

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Chester County First Responders and Citizens Are Vulnerable to Hackers Due to Cyber Security Gaps

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Chester County First Responders and Citizens Are Vulnerable to Hackers Due to Cyber Security Gaps

If you’ve ever been pulled over by police or had an ambulance rush to your home, laptop computers offer a way for first responders to check some of your most personal information. Former Chester County Technical Communications Specialist David Cucchi …

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Marshall County man sentenced to 6 years in prison for child porn

To Purchase This Product/Services, Go To The Store Link Above Or Go To http://www.become007.com/store/ James Foster is going to prison after possessing and sharing child pornography. In 2015, Foster, 33, shared pornographic videos with an undercover agent three times and he was arrested in August …

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