The Toronto Public Library, Canada’s largest public library system, is currently grappling with the repercussions of a crippling cyberattack. The attack has disrupted essential services, taking down the library’s website, member services pages, and significantly limiting access to its extensive digital collections.
Serving over 1.2 million members and housing more than 12 million items across 100 branches, the library announced these technical difficulties on a Saturday afternoon, which also impacted in-branch WiFi and printing services. As the situation evolved, it was officially confirmed on Sunday that the library was dealing with a cybersecurity incident, prompting the replacement of their website with a temporary page explaining the situation.
As a result of the cyberattack, various critical services have become unavailable, including tpl.ca, “your account,” tpl:map passes, and digital collections. Public computers and printing services at the library’s branches are also inaccessible.
However, branches remain open as per their regular schedule, with WiFi services and telephone lines operational. Despite these disruptions, there is no evidence, at this point, to suggest that the personal information of staff or customers has been compromised. The Toronto Public Library has been proactive in preparing for cybersecurity issues and has promptly initiated measures to mitigate potential impacts. Cybersecurity experts have been hired to resolve the situation, although it is expected to take several days before all systems are fully restored to normal operations.
The attack on the Toronto Public Library comes amid a wave of cyber incidents targeting prominent institutions in Canada. Just six months ago, Toronto’s government confirmed a data breach involving suspected Russia-based ransomware hackers exploiting a vulnerability in a popular file transfer platform. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra faced a data theft incident last year, and the city previously experienced a ransomware attack on its public transportation system. This pattern extends to other prominent institutions, including Air Canada and the National Gallery of Canada, emphasizing the growing cybersecurity challenges faced by organizations across the country.