A North Carolina county says hackers have tried new attacks on its computer systems after it refused to pay them a ransom for frozen data.
Mecklenburg County manager Dena Diorio sent an email Thursday to county employees advising them that hackers were targeting the county primarily through fraudulent email attachments. No further damage to the systems was reported.
Diorio said the county was disabling employees' ability to open attachments generated through Dropbox and Google Docs. She advised staff to generally limit its use of attachments overall and try to conduct business by phone or in person when possible.
This item has been corrected to reflect the proper spelling of the first name of the county manager.
Many county services remained disrupted as local officials in North Carolina work to restore computer systems after a cyberattack.
Mecklenburg County officials say that it could take days to restore compromised computer systems from backup data after they refused to pay ransom to a hacker.
In the meantime, many transactions normally done online have to be done on paper.
Darryl Broome is a contractor who does remodeling and demolition. He went Thursday to a county office to retrieve some land information he normally could look up quickly on his home computer. He had to drive 10 miles to the office and spend about a half-hour looking through paper records.
Broome said: "You get used to doing certain things online, and when you have to slow down, it costs you time and time costs you money."
A North Carolina county is working on the lengthy process of fixing its computer systems after refusing to pay off a hacker who used ransomware to freeze dozens of local government servers.
Mecklenburg County officials say it will take days to restore the computer system. For that time period, residents in North Carolina's most populous metro area will face delays or disruptions to county services. Deputies were processing jail inmates by hand and building code inspectors switched to paper records after the cyberattack.
County manager Dena Diorio said late Wednesday that the county will not pay the $23,000 demanded by the hacker, who is believed to be foreign. Diorio said it would have taken days to restore the county's computer system even if officials paid off the person controlling the ransomware, so the decision won't significantly lengthen the timeframe.
This story corrects the first name of the county manager in the 5:30 p.m. item to 'Dena.'
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