British Library knocked offline by weekend cyberattack

Hackers in library

The British Library has been hit by a major IT outage affecting its website and many of its services following a “cyber incident” that impacted its systems on Saturday, October 28.

The ongoing outage also affects other services, including our phone lines and onsite library services in London and Yorkshire.

The British Library’s facilities, including Reading Rooms for personal study, are still operational, and collection items requested on or before October 26 are accessible onsite.

“The British Library is experiencing a major technology outage, as a result of a cyber incident. This is affecting online systems and services, our website, and onsite services including our Reading Rooms,” a spokesperson told BleepingComputer.

“We are investigating the incident with the support of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and cybersecurity specialists.”

The spokesperson didn’t say if personal or financial information belonging to customers or employees was accessed or stolen during the incident.

The library has also yet to provide details on the nature of the attack and how the malicious actors breached its systems. The British Library website was still offline due to the cyberattack when the article was published. 

British Library outage

The British Library added that while there is limited manual ordering of collection items in London through printed catalogs in St Pancras, there is no access to digital collections or the digital catalog, and exhibition tickets can only be bought in person using cash.

“Our Fantasy exhibition and public spaces will open as normal and our public events will be going ahead as planned, but we are only able to take cash payment on site,” it said on Sunday.

The library says its collection includes more than 150 million items stored on 625 km of shelves, with 3 million added yearly as it receives copies of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland.

Over 11 million learners visit the library’s website annually, while more than 16,000 people use its collections daily (onsite and online).

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