WBTV Speak Out Editorial: Don't Bow Down to Hackers

l"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Scott Dempsey.

Mecklenburg County was recently a victim of cyber terrorism.

Unknown hackers hijacked critical county systems and information, then demanded payment for its release.

Our county leaders said "no" and we think that was the right call.

It surprised some that we live in an age where criminals can kidnap digital information and then hold governments hostage, but this is very real.

Reports show that, a few years ago, the United States had more than 24-hundred complains of cyber thieves hacking into systems and victims paid out more than $24 million dollars.

We must find ways to catch and punish these criminals, not pay them.

We applaud Mecklenburg County for using its time and resources to find another solution.  Instead of spending your tax dollars to pay anonymous hackers, they paid experts to restore their systems and hopefully prevent future attacks.

We know it was inconvenient for many.

It is a costly wake-up call, showing all of us the importance of protecting our data and computer systems.

Create your working back-up plan – NOW - so that if the terrorists ever call you, you don't have to answer.

Tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com.