Mecklenburg County government computers were locked after an employee opened an email attachment unleashing ransomware demanding $23,000. The attack affected 48 of the county’s 500 servers before it was quarantined. The City of Charlotte, which makes up most of the county, was able to safely disconnect its systems and avoid infection. With systems down, the tax office had to reject electronic payments, and bookings at the jail slowed as inmates had to be processed by hand. Builders had to drive to the county and manually search records instead of just pulling them up online. More tragically, the Department of Social Services had to try to reconstruct the 1,600 rides scheduled on the county’s paratransit calendar. Staff had to periodically check the domestic violence hotline because calls were going straight to voicemail. Fortunately, 911 calls were not affected, as they are handled by Charlotte. Mecklenburg refused to pay the ransom, instead opting to restore backup data to rebuilt systems.