British Library: Investigation launched into cyber attack which caused 'major technology outage'

An investigation is underway after hackers launched a cyber attack on the British Library which caused a “major technology outage”.

Cyber security experts at the Metropolitan Police and the National Crime agency are looking into the attack, which has been affecting the library’s website, online services like the reading rooms and its public wi-fi network since Saturday.

The library confirmed it was a cyber attack last night, but refused to say whether the hackers have demanded a ransom.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It said disruption “is likely to continue for several weeks”, but its sites in London and Boston Spa will remain open to the public and most of its planned events will go ahead.

The British Library was targeted by hackers over the weekendThe British Library was targeted by hackers over the weekend
The British Library was targeted by hackers over the weekend

“The British Library is experiencing a major technology outage, as a result of what has now been identified as a cyber-attack,” a spokesperson said.

“The outage is affecting our website, online systems and services, as well as some onsite services including our reading rooms and public wifi. We expect to restore many of our services soon, although some disruption is likely to continue for several weeks.

“In response to the attack, we have taken targeted protective measures to ensure the integrity of our systems, and we are undertaking a forensic investigation with the support of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and cybersecurity specialists.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“As this investigation is ongoing, we cannot provide further details at this time.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the case will be assessed by its cyber security team and then sent to the National Crime Agency for investigation.

It comes after Toronto Public Library in Canada was hit by a ransomware attack on October 27 which shut its website down for more than a week.

The British Library’s branch in Boston Spa holds around 3m books, 210,000 journals and an archive of almost every British newspaper published since 1840.

The 40-acre facility was built on the site of a WW2 armaments factory at Thorp Arch industrial estate. It has around 700 members of staff and receives 1,200 new newspapers each week.