Crime & Courts

Ransomware attack cripples North Carolina sheriff’s office network. FBI investigating.

The FBI is investigating a ransomware attack that crippled the computer network of a North Carolina sheriff’s office.

At about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, hackers “destroyed a recent system backup and encrypted the information on the main server, preventing access,” Lincoln County sheriff’s investigators said in a news release Friday.

Investigators notified the FBI, which immediately began investigating.

“It was not a security breach where the hackers retrieved information,” Lincoln County Sheriff Bill Beam said in a statement. “No information on the computers was compromised.”

Sheriff’s office IT workers, however, were still trying to access encrypted information on Friday afternoon and update security, according to the sheriff.

The ransomware also struck the sheriff’s office website, which investigators took down and hope to restore soon, according to the release.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.