600 staff and public access computers were taken down at Volusia County Public Library (VCPL) branches from Daytona Beach, Florida, following a cyberattack that started around 7 AM on January 9. “The county’s technology staff were immediately notified and coordinated recovery efforts with library staff,” an official statement says. “Approximately 50 computers are back online, enabling library staff to perform patron business, such as checking books in and out, and making reservations.”
The library’s ability to conduct daily business was not affected in the incident allowing patrons to take out books and other library materials. The VCPL server hosting the website was also not impacted in the attack, with the library’s online presence and associated online resources remaining unaffected as a result.
VCPL’s public Wi-Fi was also not impacted by the attack and “the public is able to safely use Wi-Fi within the libraries on personal devices.”
While the official statement issued by the library does not mention ransomware being used to encrypt the 600 computers that went offline after the incident, there’s a high chance that this was the case and all the signs are there to point to the devices getting encrypted. “The county is conducting an investigation and more information will be available at a later date,” VCPL staff also said.
Californian libraries were also affected by a ransomware attack
Some Californian libraries are also affected by a ransomware attack that encrypted computers at 26 community libraries in Contra Costa County on January 3. “We apologize for the inconvenience this outage is causing our patrons and ask for patience as we work to get all services back online,” said County Librarian Melinda Cervantes at the time. “We are working closely with law enforcement, including IT experts to gather information and prevent future attacks.”
While most services have been restored since the attack according to an outage update page on the Contra Costa County Library’s website last updated on January 17, several others including public printing, public WiFi, Catalog Account login, and Link+ Renewals are still down.
The county library’s site is displaying a notification saying that the “network is currently down and patrons are unable to login at this time. We are investigating the issue and will establish service as soon as possible.”
FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center issued a public service announcement in October on the increasing number of high-impact ransomware attacks currently targeting both government and private U.S. organizations. In 2019 it’s reported that ransomware directly impacted “at least 948 government agencies, educational establishments and healthcare providers at a potential cost in excess of $7.5 billion.”