The county manager said that contrary to erroneous reports, the hackers are only demanding $23,000 in ransom to release the data - but the process of establishing a cryptocurrency account and using it to meet the demands could take several days.
"I am confident that our backup data is secure and we have the resources to fix this situation ourselves", County Manager Dena Diorio said in a statement on the county's website.
Diorio said county technology officials will use backup data from before the ransomware attack to restore the system, but the rebuild will take "patience and hard work".
The compromised servers have been quarantined, and even potentially healthy parts of the system were shut down to avoid spreading the malicious program, said Keith Gregg, the county's chief information officer. "And there was no guarantee that paying the criminals was a sure fix", Dioro says.
At least two county commissioners said they had not been briefed on the additional information regarding the actual total of the ransom when contacted by WBTV on Wednesday morning.
Late Wednesday, The Associated Press reported county sheriff's deputies were processing inmates by hand; a tax office had turned away electronic payments; and building inspectors had switched to paper records.
It was an email with just such an attachment that was opened earlier this week by a county employee that triggered the freeze on much of the county's computer system. "There's multiple departments that are going back to old-school paper processes", county spokesman Danny Diehl said around 9:30 a.m.
The attack happened when a county employee opened an email attachment that infected the county's computer system with spyware and a worm. "So while they've frozen the servers, they've not compromised the data and not stolen data, as far as we know at this point", Diorio said Tuesday.
There's no evidence Mecklenburg County was specifically targeted, county Public Information Director Danny Diehl said - but for obvious reasons, the decision of whether or not to pay the hackers was a complicated one.
Such attacks are becoming more common - and more sophisticated.
The hack caused issues with call centers, code enforcement applications, and a variety of county systems that are used to provide services to people in the county.
This is a developing story.
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