Toronto Public Library facing disruptions due to cyberattack

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Canada’s largest public library system said it is dealing with a cyberattack that brought down its website, member services pages and limited access to its digital collections.

The Toronto Public Library serves more than 1.2 million members with more than 12 million items spread across 100 branches. It said on Saturday afternoon that it was experiencing technical difficulties with online services as well as in-branch WiFi and printing.

By Sunday, the city-run organization confirmed that it was dealing with a cybersecurity incident. The library’s website has been replaced with a temporary page with a statement explaining the situation.

“As a result of the incident, the following services are unavailable: tpl.ca, “your account”, tpl:map passes and digital collections. Public computers and printing services at our branches are also unavailable. Branches are open as scheduled. Wifi is available in library branches, and branch telephone lines are working,” they said.

“Materials can be borrowed and returned in branches until further notice. As of now, there is no evidence that the personal information of our staff or customers has been compromised. TPL has proactively prepared for cybersecurity issues and promptly initiated measures to mitigate potential impacts.”

Officials have hired cybersecurity experts to resolve the situation but said it “may take several days before all systems are fully restored to normal operations.”

No hacking group has taken credit for the attack and the organization did not respond to requests for comment about whether it was a ransomware incident or if a ransom would be paid.

Just six months ago, Toronto’s government confirmed to Recorded Future News that it had data stolen from its systems by suspected Russia-based ransomware hackers exploiting an issue in a popular file transfer platform.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra dealt with a data theft incident last year while the city previously dealt with a ransomware attack on its public transportation system.

Over the last year, dozens of the most prominent institutions in Canada have dealt with ransomware incidents or cyberattacks, including its biggest book seller, Air Canada, and the National Gallery of Canada.

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Jonathan Greig is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.

 

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