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Alexandria’s Library opens up about cause of last year’s electronic services shutdown

The Kate Waller Barrett Branch of the Alexandria Library. (Staff photo by James Cullum)

It got a little lost among the rush of news late last year, but we finally have an answer to what shut down the Alexandria Library’s electronic services last year.

For several weeks in July, the Alexandria Library was crippled by a ‘data incident’ that led to the city’s audiobooks, wifi, library card signup and more being shut down.

Some of those services, like wifi and audiobooks, were restored after a few weeks, others took longer.

The Alexandria Library said in a post in November that the Alexandria Library had been the victim of a ransomware attack:

The Alexandria Library system recently experienced a partial network outage due to a ransomware attack which encrypted several servers. The investigation by cybersecurity professionals and law enforcement is substantially complete and concluded that Library patron information was not accessed or compromised. Alexandria Library does not collect or retain the personally identifiable information (PII) of its patrons and borrower history was not contained on the encrypted servers. The Library has implemented additional security measures designed to prevent a reoccurrence of such incidents and to further protect and enhance the privacy of our employees, patrons and vendors. All impacted services have been restored.

The Alexandria Library was a closed book for much of last year about the cause of the shutdown but did say that cybersecurity professionals and law enforcement had been called in to investigate the incident.

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