A cyberattack on the Town of Cornelius, North Carolina, was detected early, officials said, and the town was able to contain the damage.
Hackers tried to attack the town with ransomware, which means they could lock up the town’s system and demand ransom to unlock it, according to a news release from Cornelius.
Cornelius staff discovered the attack Tuesday, according to the release. The town went public about the attack on Wednesday.
The town said its IT department is working with state and county staff to scan and clean the computer system. Some town services may not be available as the town restores its systems, officials said.
Ransomware attacks are common in North Carolina and around the country.
Hackers, frequently from Eastern Europe, Russia or Asia, will put malicious software on a computer system. The software can lock down or encrypt a target’s network or essential data and the hackers demand a ransome in exchange for the password to get the data back.
The most high profile ransomware incident recently was the Colonial Pipeline attack, when hackers shut down a major fuel pipeline serving the East Coast in May 2021.
Most ransomware attacks do not make national headlines. Most targets are more run-of-the-mill, like small doctor’s offices or local businesses. School systems and hospitals have also been a popular target for hackers looking to make money off of ransomware.