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Hands type on a computer keyboard in Los Angeles. Photo: Damian Dovarganes / AP

Hackers took control of several government computer systems in North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County earlier this week, demanding $23,000 or 2 Bitcoins to free the files, according to Spectrum News Charlotte, but the county refused to cough it up, instead operating at slightly reduced capacity. The county first announced it was experiencing a "computer-system outage" over Twitter on Tuesday.

This instance of ransomware hacking stands out from many others in that the county didn’t give in to the hackers’ demands — because it didn't have to. The county’s manager, Dena R. Diorio, announced the county had secured enough backup data and enough resources to fix the problem by itself.

  • This can serve as a lesson to other government bodies and companies that back up data can make a difference in how a response to a breach can play out.
  • Be smart: “It was going to take almost as long to fix the system after paying the ransom as it does to fix it ourselves…And there was no guarantee that paying the criminals was a sure fix,” Diorio said.

The hackers have not been publicly identified and it is believed that they didn’t obtain any personal information.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.