The British Library, the national library of the UK, has been hit by a cyberattack. That has led to a massive multi-day technology outage, reported The Guardian.
According to official posts by the library on X (formerly Twitter), the incident started on 28th October. causing the institution to experience some “technical issues.” It later escalated and persisted for the next few days, resulting in far-reaching repercussions. According to the report, the consequences of the incident have caused concerns among researchers, staff, and scholars.
The attack has caused disruptions in the library operations. Its website, public Wi-Fi, and services at the St Pancras site in central London and Yorkshire have been affected. However, The British Library later confirmed that its public Wi-Fi was brought into operation successfully.
Besides, it has made the library’s online services, such as the digital catalogue and collections, temporarily inaccessible. Collection items requested on, or after, 27th October are not available for pickup. New items ordered through reading room computers and digital catalogues have limited availability. In addition, the incident has also disrupted the reader registration services of the library.
However, The British Library confirmed that the collection items requested on or before October 26 are accessible. Its onsite facilities are still operational, including Reading Rooms for personal study. “Very limited manual collection item ordering” are available via the institution’s printed catalogues for items stored at its St Pancras base.
The library confirmed to take immediate action to mitigate the aftermath of the attack. It also rolled out an investigation into the incident in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
The statement released on X said, “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. We are investigating the incident with the support of the NCSC and cybersecurity specialists.”
The statement continued: “We are very grateful for the support and understanding we have had from our users, staff and partners. The library’s sites remain fully open to the public, and details on the services that remain available can be found via @britishlibrary on X.”
The library has yet to reveal the nature of the cyberattack and how its systems were infiltrated. However, considering the operational disruptions caused by the incident, experts are leaning toward the possibility of a ransomware attack. In addition, the authorities have not yet disclosed whether any consumer or employee personal data has been compromised.
Despite the outage and challenges caused by the cyberattack, the exhibition “Fantasy: Realms of Imagination” has been kept open. Tickets are available for onsite purchase using cash.
The British Library, one of the largest libraries in the world, has urged users to keep an eye on its official communication channels and social media networks for further information about the cyberattack.
The incident acts as a stark reminder that no organisation, including cultural and educational institutions, is immune to cyberattacks.
The cyber threat landscape is evolving in sophistication and complexity. The continued investment in robust cybersecurity measures such as high-end vulnerability management has become essential for the organisation.
Vulnerability management solutions like Rootshell Security help organisations get a complete overview of their digital landscape, allowing them to track down, prioritise and mitigate potential security threats before they turn into cyberattacks.
Sohela is an electrical engineer and a self-professed writer with a keen interest in all things tech. When she’s not writing killer content pieces, you’ll find her enjoying tempting foods in her favourite restaurants.