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Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio will ask county commissioners Tuesday night to approve spending an additional $2.3 million to speed up cybersecurity projects. The request comes four months after a ransomware attack that crippled county computer systems. 

WFAE file photo

As Atlanta struggles to recover from a cyberattack last week that knocked out city computer systems, one place officials turned to for advice was Mecklenburg County. A similar attack here in December kept some systems offline for weeks - and the county is still working on security improvements.


It's taking longer than expected to restore Mecklenburg County computer systems disabled after a cyberattack last month. County officials had hoped to finish the job by New Year's, but the work continues.

Mecklenburg County said Wednesday more than 50 of its computer systems have now been restored after a ransomware attack two weeks ago. In an update, the county said those include systems for arrest processing in the sheriff's office, social services referrals, online park reservations, and business tax collections.

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Updated 5:19 p.m.
Many Mecklenburg County services remain hobbled after a cyberattack last week that scrambled data on county computer systems. County technology director Keith Gregg said 17 of about 200 key systems have been restored, and the county is being "hyper-vigilant" as it restores the rest, to make sure there's no risk of re-infecting them.

Updated Friday 7:37pm

Mecklenburg County has released the initial ransom email from hackers responsible for the ransomware attack on government servers.

“All your files have been encrypted!" the message reads. "All your files have been encrypted because of a security problem with your PC."

County technology manager Keith Gregg said the county's backups were "highly effective."
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 2:34 p.m.
A day after Mecklenburg County announced it would not pay ransom to hackers who locked up data on its computer systems, the hackers appear to have tried again to penetrate county systems.  Meanwhile, the county manager says restoring those systems manually could take until the end of the year. 

To learn more about ransomware, WFAE's Mark Rumsey spoke to Dan Lorhmann. He’s the chief strategist and security officer at Security Mentor, a Michigan company that specializes in cybersecurity. He’s also a former chief security officer for Michigan’s state government.

Mark Rumsey:  First, how often is this kind of thing happening that we're dealing with in Mecklenburg County government right now?

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio talked to reporters Wednesday about this week's hacker attack on county servers.
David Boraks / WFAE

County Manager Dena Diorio says hackers from the Ukraine or Iran are likely behind this week's attack that shut down Mecklenburg County computer systems. County officials said Wednesday afternoon the county will not pay a $23,000 ransom in the electronic currency Bitcoins demanded by the attackers. They say the county will restore its systems from backups.


Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said Wednesday the county won't pay computer criminals $23,000 to unlock data scrambled in a "ransomware" attack this week.