MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. -- Mecklenburg County officials are now in a rebuilding mode after their servers were taken hostage by cyber criminals.
A county employee opened an email infected with ransomware, exposing 48 county servers to cyber criminals.
The county decided not to pay the ransom. Instead, they're now working from their backup data to fix the issue themselves.
Fortalice Solutions has been helping investigate the hack attack.
Theresa Payton of Fortalice Solutions said typically in a situation like this, nothing is stolen, but hackers lock up the data, and they demand a payment in exchange for a key.
Payton said normally she advises companies not to pay the ransom if they can take the time and have a back-up system they can work from to rebuild their servers because cash is the priority for the criminals.
"Right now, ransomware is attractive to cyber criminals," said Payton. "They're getting away with it. Companies feel like they have to get operational again so they pay the ransom, and they're not going to jail, so in some cases, by paying the ransom to get operational we're just encouraging this behavior."