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Cyber Attack Drains 40% of British Library's Reserves

The British Library is facing significant financial implications following a cyber attack, considering the use of approximately 40% of its unallocated reserves to recover. The breach led to a leak of employee data, and the Rhysida ransomware group claimed responsibility.

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Ayesha Mumtaz
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Cyber Attack Drains 40% of British Library's Reserves

The British Library, one of the world's most renowned cultural institutions, is grappling with the financial fallout from a recent cyber attack that has significantly impaired its digital services. The assault was originally announced in October as a 'major technology outage', but the full extent of the damage has since come to light, revealing a grim scenario of extensive system compromise and data breach.

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The Cost of Cyber Resilience

In the wake of the cyber attack, the library finds itself forced to consider the diversion of nearly 40% of its unallocated reserves to bolster recovery efforts. A staggering £6 million to £7 million from a total reserve of £16.4 million may be spent on revamping the library's digital services. Despite the potential financial strain, the library has opted not to seek additional funding, choosing instead to rely on its substantial reserves.

A Ransomware Attack and Data Breach

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The cyber attack on the British Library was not merely a technology outage but a malicious assault on its digital infrastructure. The Rhysida ransomware group, infamous for similar attacks, claimed responsibility for the breach. The group's modus operandi involves publishing stolen files on the dark web, a tactic deployed in this instance as well. The library's refusal to yield to a £600,000 ransom demand led to the publication of hundreds of thousands of stolen files, potentially including employee data and passports.

Investigation and Recovery

The disturbing events have prompted a thorough investigation by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and cybersecurity experts. The British Library is also working closely with the Metropolitan Police as part of the ongoing analysis of the breached data. This investigation is expected to take several months, underscoring the severity of the cyber attack. In the meantime, the library's physical sites continue to operate, and a reference-only version of the main catalogue is expected to be available online from January 15.

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