Major Cyber-Attack Paralyzes British Library's Technological Infrastructure
In a significant blow to one of the world's largest libraries, the British Library is grappling with a major technology outage following a cyber-attack. The disruption has rendered online services inaccessible and has impacted the library's physical locations in London and Yorkshire.
The attack has severed access to crucial components of the British Library's operations, including its website, digital collections, and catalogue. Readers, researchers, and the general public are currently unable to access items ordered on or after October 27. Additionally, new collection item orders via digital catalogues and reading room PCs are affected, along with the temporary unavailability of reader registration services.
The British Library, in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and cybersecurity specialists, has launched an investigation into the cyber incident. A statement released on Tuesday acknowledged the severity of the situation, stating, "The British Library is experiencing a major technology outage, as a result of a cyber incident. This is affecting online systems and services, our website, and onsite services including our reading rooms."
Reports indicate that the library first acknowledged "technical issues" on Saturday through its official Twitter account (@britishlibrary). Public WIFI access was confirmed to be down, and subsequent updates suggested that these issues were expected to persist for the next few days. While public WIFI access has since been restored, the investigation into the root cause of the cyber-attack continues.
Despite the technological setback, the exhibition "Fantasy: Realms of Imagination" at the British Library remains open to the public. Tickets for the exhibition can still be purchased on-site with cash only. The library expressed gratitude for the support and understanding received from users, staff, and partners during this challenging time.
The British Library, home to over 150 million items, including printed books, rare manuscripts, maps, stamps, sound recordings, photographs, and music, plays a pivotal role as the UK's national library. The incident underscores the ongoing challenges institutions face in securing their digital infrastructure against evolving cyber threats.
Jai Aenugu, CEO, TechForce Cyber:
"As we've observed from the recent incident at the British Library, and hear time and time again from our clients, the fallout from a cyber-attack goes beyond just the digital realm. It hampers physical operations, disrupts essential services, and has a lasting impact on both the institution and its patrons. This scenario underscores the imperative for organizations to proactively fortify their digital infrastructure. Implementing multi-factor authentication, regularly updating and patching systems, and educating staff on cybersecurity best practices are pivotal steps towards mitigating such risks. Moreover, having a well-orchestrated incident response plan can significantly curtail the damage and expedite recovery in the unfortunate event of a breach. It's a stark reminder that in our digital age, robust cybersecurity measures are not a luxury, but a necessity for preserving our cultural heritage and ensuring uninterrupted access to knowledge."
The original news story of this cyber attack can be found here
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