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Hoping to use the computer at a Seattle library? Think again | #ransomware | #cybercrime


The Seattle Public Library website is back up after a ransomware attack scuttled its computer systems this week, but most other services remain down.

Libraries in South Seattle were quiet Wednesday and covered with signs warning that all computer services were down, including desktop terminals, wi-fi, and printers.

At the Rainier Beach branch, Gebre Kassaye was hoping to use the wi-fi to work on a research paper for his nursing program.

“One of the staff, he said that the system’s down. I’m just trying to use my cell phone but the system’s weak. I think I’ll just go to the Starbucks,” Kassaye said.

Seattle Public Library spokesperson Laura Gentry declined to provide specifics about the attack, citing the open investigation. She said the library system is working on bringing back services in order of priority.

“E-book holds are of strong interest to our patrons, and we’re seeing what we can do to bring that back,” Gentry said. Among readers’ main concerns: whether they’ll lose their place in line for long-awaited e-books. That’s still unclear, Gentry said, but they’re working with vendors to see whether waitlist queues have been preserved.

Ransomware attacks have hit public library systems across the country in recent years.

Most rebuild their computer systems rather than pay ransom, and the attacks can bog down library services for months.

At the Rainier Beach branch, librarians pointed library patrons desperate for computers and wi-fi to Skyway, the closest branch of the unaffected King County Library system and gave them road maps a librarian drew by hand.

Tap link below to hear the full Soundside episode explaining how ransomware attackers targeted the Seattle Public Library.



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