Toronto Public Library anticipates long recovery period following cyber attack

Stolen files include employees' personal details

Toronto Public Library anticipates long recovery period following cyber attack


By Mika Pangilinan

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) has announced that services disrupted by a cyber attack late last month won’t be restored until January.

In an update released Thursday, the library said the “aggressive” nature of the restoration timeline is due to the complexity of the task at hand.

“Given the complexity and magnitude of this task involving TPL's data centre and computers across 100 library branches, and the interconnectivity of our systems, we anticipate the restoration of library services will take several more weeks,” the statement read.

TPL also acknowledged the inconvenience caused by the prolonged disruption in services, assuring its users that access to services will commence gradually from January onwards.

Key services provided by TPL have remained offline since the cyberattack, including online personal accounts, map passes, public computers, and some digital collections.

The attack also compromised a “large number of files” containing sensitive data owned by current and former employees of TPL and the Toronto Public Library Foundation dating back to 1998.

“We did not pay a ransom,” the library said in a previous statement. “We are aware that stolen data connected to this incident may be published on the dark web.”

TPL acknowledged the magnitude of the breach in its latest update, reassuring the public that its staff has been working alongside cybersecurity experts to restore affected systems and bolster network security.

Cybersecurity experts have noted the prevalence of cyberattacks targeting public sector organizations. In an April interview with CBC News, Emsisoft cybersecurity threat analyst Brett Callow said these attacks are likely committed by politically motivated actors eager to cause disruption.

“In some cases, it's really just a flex of muscle,” added Carleton University associate professor Jason Jaskolka.

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