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British Library Begins Recovery from Debilitating Ransomware Attack

The British Library's digital services return online after a ransomware attack by the Rhysida gang in October, marking the start of a gradual recovery. The attack's aftermath has had a profound impact on scholarly activities.

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BNN Correspondents
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British Library Begins Recovery from Debilitating Ransomware Attack

Over three months ago, the British Library, a treasure trove of more than 36 million records, experienced a paralyzing cyberattack that brought its digital services to a grinding halt. Orchestrated by the notorious Rhysida ransomware group, the assault occurred on October 31, last year, and caused a lengthy disruption that left the library's users in intellectual limbo.

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The Impact of the Attack

The attack's aftermath was not just a temporary inconvenience; it resulted in scholars, historians, novelists, and students being cut off from a vital source of knowledge and research material. The library's Integrated Catalogue, inter-library loans service, Public Lending Right system, and access to digitized manuscripts and the English Short Title Catalogue were all effectively disabled. The predicament was so severe that the British Library, renowned for its rich collection of knowledge, was reduced to an 'internet café,' its primary offerings being building space and coffee shops.

The Road to Recovery

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Today, the library's main catalogue returns online in a 'read-only' format, marking the first step towards a gradual recovery. Access to the library's key special collections will also be reinstated, albeit with a catch – users will need to consult offline versions of specialist catalogues in person. The library's CEO has acknowledged the impact on researchers and extended an apology for the inconvenience caused.

The High Cost of Cyberattacks

The monetary toll of the attack is a staggering £7 million, underscoring the high price of cybercrime. However, the financial aspect pales in comparison to the disruption of intellectual activities and scholarly pursuits. The cyberattack on the British Library serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of significant cultural institutions to digital threats and the profound implications such disruptions can have on society.

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