Fierce cyber blow forces British Library to ignite reservoirs for recovery

January 6, 2024
2 mins read

The British Library has revealed that it will need to dip into its reserves in order to recover from a recent cyber attack that took place in May 2017. The attack, which affected the library’s email system and forced it to temporarily close its online catalogues, has cost the institution around £6.1m ($8m) in recovery costs, including payments to external cybersecurity experts. The library, which is the national library of the UK, has relied on its reserves to cover the expenses and is not expected to request additional funding from the government.

Key points:

  • The British Library is using its reserves to pay for recovery costs following a cyber attack in May 2017.
  • The institution has spent around £6.1m ($8m) on recovery, including payments to external cybersecurity experts.
  • The attack affected the library’s email system and caused temporary closure of its online catalogues.
  • The library is not expected to request additional funding from the government to cover the expenses.

The cyber attack on the British Library began in May 2017 and lasted for over a week. The library was forced to temporarily shut down its online catalogues, meaning that researchers and library users were unable to access the library’s extensive collection of books, newspapers, and manuscripts. The attack also affected the library’s email system, making it difficult for internal staff to communicate with each other.

The library has not disclosed the nature of the attack or who was behind it, but it has stated that no sensitive or personal information was compromised. The institution has taken steps to improve its cybersecurity systems since the attack, including implementing additional security measures and enhancing training for staff.

Despite the financial impact of the attack, the British Library is not expected to request additional funding from the UK government. Instead, the institution will use its reserves, which stood at around £29m ($38m) in 2016, to cover the expenses. The library has a responsibility to maintain its collections and make them accessible to the public, and it is committed to recovering from the attack without relying on external funding.

Cyber attacks on cultural institutions are becoming increasingly common, with hackers realizing the value of the information held by these organizations. In a digital age, libraries, museums, and archives are prime targets for hackers looking to steal valuable data or disrupt operations. The British Library’s experience highlights the importance of investing in robust cybersecurity systems and training for staff to prevent and respond to cyber attacks.

In conclusion, the British Library is using its reserves to recover from a cyber attack that took place in May 2017. The attack impacted the library’s email system and led to the temporary closure of its online catalogues. The recovery costs, including payments to external cybersecurity experts, have amounted to around £6.1m ($8m). The library is not expected to ask for additional funding from the UK government and instead will rely on its reserves to cover the expenses. This incident highlights the need for cultural institutions to invest in strong cybersecurity systems and staff training to prevent and respond to cyber attacks.

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