CHARLOTTE, N.C., NC --Servers at Mecklenburg County offices are being held for ransom by an unknown hacker, according to officials.

The county was experiencing a county-wide computer system outage Tuesday afternoon. Just after 6 p.m., officials said during a meeting that the servers were being held for ransom.

Officials confirmed to CBS Affiliate WBTV that the hacker is asking for $23,000 dollars by 1 p.m. Wednesday. The county is reportedly considering whether to pay the hacker.

As of Tuesday evening, the hacker’s identity and location were unknown, the station reports.

According to Mecklenberg County officials, all of the Information Technology Services (ITS) systems in the county are shut down. The outage will affect email, printing, and other ways to conduct business at most county offices.

Officials say a county employee reportedly clicked on an attachment in an email, exposing the files. The county manager said that no residents’ personal data was compromised.

Earlier in the day, a Mecklenburg County source said the outage was “believed to be due to an external threat.”

Click on WBTV for more.

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