Over two weeks after a cyber attack shut down Toronto Public Library’s (TPL) online system, the board is holding a meeting Monday night to determine next steps.
The library’s network of 100 branches remains open to the public but many of the services that residents rely on are still unavailable, such as the library’s website, “your account” service, tpl:map passes and digital collections.
The library says customers can continue to borrow and return items “until further notice.”
TPL acknowledged on Friday that sensitive data may have been “exposed” in the ransomware attack but said further investigation was needed to determine the extent of the exposure and the individuals affected.
The Toronto Public Library Board is set to meet for discussions involving the security of the property.
Security expert Mick Be said those who have accounts with the library should keep an eye on their bank accounts or for suspicious calls.
“You just want to keep an eye on any strange activities, payments coming out of your bank accounts, or perhaps if all of a sudden you find out that there’s a call from a credit union or a credit bureau wanting to inquire whether you’re opening up a line of credit.”
“Companies or organizations like this, they collect personal information, personal information, typically includes their name, first name, last name, address, could include the date of birth, could include their mobile number, could include credit card payment information.”
He said they have professional experts, cybersecurity teams and the police are undergoing a series of investigations
Be said the public domain like a library has very little resources so it ends up becoming a “low-hanging fruit” and attackers are able to break in.
“The other thing is that, and I won’t speak to Toronto Public Library as such but organizations that offer local machines in multiple locations such as printers, desktops, etc., they’re also available to some form of susceptible attack as well,” said Be. “It really comes down to the credibility and the sophistication of the attacker but there’s multiple forms that an attack like this could have taken place.”
He said its hard to determine how long the investigation will take and we are still learning new information.
“So I think the best solution in this or at least one of the most prudent practices is for the public to actually just be a little bit more vigilant on their personal information and realize that data is the new currency.”
Be added it’s a good lesson for companies who are considering increasing or improving the setup of their network environment.