In the wake of a ransomware attack against the Toronto Public Library (TPL) last month, board members met Monday evening to address the severity of the incident.
On Saturday, Oct. 28, TPL said it became aware of a cybersecurity incident.
“We immediately engaged with third-party security experts to help us resolve this situation, and have also filed a report with Toronto Police Service. On Nov. 7, we confirmed that the incident was a ransomware attack,” reads an update on the TPL website.
The library says some sensitive information may have been breached in the ransomware attack, but further investigation is needed to determine the extent of the exposure and individuals affected.
Since the attack, library branches are open to the public and visitors have access to Wi-Fi, borrowing, returning, and renewing materials, online services, and most in-branch programs.
However, many of the services that visitors rely on are still unavailable, such as the library’s website, online personal accounts, public computers, printing services, some digital collections, and placing or managing holds.
Robert Beggs, CEO of DigitalDefence, told Global news in an interview that when it comes to cybersecurity attacks, the TPL was a “very unique client”.
The cybersecurity expert noted that if a corporation or a hospital were attacked by ransomware, they are on very contained networks, whereas the TPL has 100 different branches, which can each be accessed remotely, in addition to the outside networks that share access with the library.
“All of this is very complicated,” Beggs said.
He said the TPL is one of the “most complex victims of ransomware” that has been announced in Canada due to its distributive nature and requirement to provide access.
“I think one of the reasons why you’re not hearing a lot of announcements isn’t information at risk but being able to just identify the extent of the attack and making sure it can’t spread further,” added Beggs.
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