CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County officials have decided not to pay a ransom to unfreeze hacked servers.
County Manager Dena Diorio says hackers froze 48 county servers, and asked for two bitcoins in ransom, which totals about $23,000. This, despite claims made by other county officials to WBTV that the hackers were actually seeking a ransom on each server, which would have run the ransom into a range of the hundreds of dollars.
As the county manager refuses to pay the hackers, the county's IT team begins work on repairing the 48 frozen servers, and bringing the affected county departments back to normal working order. These departments include the tax office, register of deeds, LUESA, assessor's office, park and recreation, department of social services, child support enforcement, finance, sheriff's office, and the courts.
Officials have not given a timeline for how long the repairs will take, but say they will take "days." They have prioritized repairs on servers affecting health and human services, the courts, and LUESA.
In the meantime, they have asked customers to call these departments to check on their services. Below is the information on what they say is affected at each one during the server outage, along with their direction for customers moving forward.
- Applications will not be able to apply for vacant positions.
- Property tax payments cannot be made at the Wilkinson Boulevard location.
- All online services, including online payment, are not available.
- Payments made by mail will not be posted until tax systems are available.
- Real estate and personal property tax payments can be made in person at Walton Plaza if the taxpayer presents the bill(s) with payment.
- Gross receipts tax payments can be made in person at the Hal Marshall Center if the taxpayer presents the completed tax return(s) with payment.
- No credit or debit card payments can be accepted.
Register of Deeds
- Marriage license applications, assumed business names, research and filing, and record research cannot be done.
- Code and Storm Water Services cannot review plans or issue new permits.
- GIS cannot provide addressing and other services.
- Air Quality services for asbestos reviews, etc. cannot be performed.
- Code enforcement inspections will continue, but will move more slowly.
- AssessPro (The Real Property appraisal system), NCPTS (the personal property appraisal system and the billing and collection system) are down.
- Polaris and Tax Bill links on county site are down.
Park and Recreation
- Online reservations are down.
Department of Social Services
- Customers are asked to call 704-336-4547 to confirm transportation reservations. This includes reservations made for bus passes and vendor transportation for trips scheduled through December 11, 2017.
Child Support Enforcement
- Customers are asked to call their agent to see if services are available.
- Automated payments, invoicing, procurement, etc. are down.
- There will be no electronic funds transfers, processing of procurement requests in the system, or other similar transactions.
- Inmates will still be released as scheduled, but the process may take more time, as it is being done manually.
Mecklenburg County Courts
- All those summoned for jury service are asked to call 704-686-0195 after 5:30 p.m. on the business day prior to their service date to receive reporting instructions.
The county also says its domestic violence hotline is down. They are directing callers to Safe Alliance reached at 704-332-2513.