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Seattle Public Library system still down two weeks after cyber attack | #ransomware | #cybercrime


The library system says it is working with experts to secure its servers after a ransomware attack in late May.

SEATTLE — On a quiet Friday morning, Rekha Burger walked up to her neighborhood library in Beacon Hill, briefly removed her sunglasses to read a sign and then walked away.

The sign she read said: “No internet, no printing/copying, no faxing/scanning, no wi-fi, no Libby access.”

“I came here Tuesday before last, and it wasn’t [fixed]. So, it has to be fixed by now, but apparently it’s not,” Burger said.

The Seattle Public Library (SPL) said its online systems were targeted in a ransomware attack over Memorial Day weekend.

The library said the disruption started impacting access to staff and public computers, the online catalog and loaning system, e-books and e-audiobooks, in-building Wi-Fi, and its website. The library contacted third-party forensic specialists along with law enforcement before taking its systems fully offline to assess the impact of the ransomware attack. 

It was the same experience of disappointment due to the disruption for Reverend Jeffrey L. Barker.

“I came by one day last week and they were out of internet as well,” he said. Barker said he has a laptop, but doesn’t pay for internet service at his home.

“God bless Starbucks, but if I don’t want to drop five bucks for a cup of coffee, I don’t need to drop five bucks here to get on the internet here for an hour or so,” he said. “They usually have open study rooms, so I literally go in for an hour and fifteen minutes, and after an hour I’m done checking emails, getting caught up on the news.”

“I always like to say it’s not just about the money, it’s all about the money,” Paul Keener said. Keener is a cybersecurity strategist with Guidepoint Security.

He added that he found it odd that a hacker would target an institution that’s not really well-known for being flush with cash. 

“Sometimes it’s just a matter of an attacker saying I’m going to hit everybody – you never know who has money,” Keener said.

Keener added patrons should keep an eye out on their other accounts that may have clues in the library data.

“Any of the data that is there, so name address, date of birth, there’s probably not a credit card saved with it,” he said.

In the meantime, SPL is asking visitors to check for updates online.

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