CHARLOTTE, N.C., NC (WBTV) — Servers at Mecklenburg County offices are being held for ransom by an unknown hacker, according to officials.
The county was experiencing a county-wide computer system outage Tuesday afternoon. Just after 6 p.m., officials said during a meeting that the servers were being held for ransom.
Officials say the hacker is asking for $23,000 dollars by 1 p.m. Wednesday. The county is reportedly considering whether to pay the hacker. As of Tuesday evening, the hacker’s identity and location were unknown.
According to county officials, all of the Information Technology Services (ITS) systems in the county are shut down. Officials say the outage will affect email, printing, and other ways to conduct business at most county offices.
Officials say a county employee reportedly clicked on an attachment in an email, exposing the files. The county manager said that no residents’ personal data was compromised.
County officials said certain services will go to paper form instead of electronic. They were still evaluating which services those were as of Tuesday evening.
Earlier in the day, a Mecklenburg County source said the outage was “believed to be due to an external threat.”
If you’re planning on heading to a county office for business purposes, you need to contact the office ahead of time to make sure you can be helped, county officials said.