Toronto Public Library nears full recovery from cyber attack

Personal information of employees dating back to 1998 exposed

Toronto Public Library nears full recovery from cyber attack

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) is nearing full recovery from a cyberattack that took place last year.

More than 3,000 staff computers have now been restored to network connectivity at the library, which paves the way for reconnecting more than 2,000 public computers to the network, it says in an update.

By the end of this month, customers will see a familiar version of website that includes more information on library services and programs, easier access to available digital resources and friendlier navigation, it says.

Just about half (56 per cent) of Canadian CEOs believe their companies are prepared for a cyberattack today, and 93 per cent are worried that the emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI) will make them even more vulnerable to breaches, according to a separate survey.

Personal details of employees exposed in cyber attack

The October 28 cyberattack of the library likely exposed the names, social insurance numbers, government identification and addresses of employees dating back to 1998, notes CBC. TPL also says it did not pay ransom to cybercriminals, according to the report.

The library previously had said cardholder and donor databases were unaffected by the cyberattack. However, some customer, volunteer and donor data that was on a compromised server may have been exposed, according to the report.

The cyberattack downed the library’s website and network of public computers across its 100 branches. 

In 2023, the Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC) also fell victim to a cyberattack that hit the server that hosted websites and application forms for Health Match BC (HMBC), the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry and the Locums for Rural BC program.

Meanwhile, public computing at TPL will return early in February, it says. Once public computers are back online, it will focus on printing services.

“The full and safe recovery of our services will take time, and we will continue to keep you updated regularly. Once again, we truly appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging time,” says TPL.

The library does not have an anticipated return date yet, although it “will also be exploring interim solutions for this important service”.

Trend Micro blocked more than 85.6 billion cyberthreats globally in the first half of 2023, consisting of email threats, malicious files and malicious URLs. That marked a 27 per cent year-over-year increase, according to a previous report.

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