British Library gate in London
The gate of the British Library in London. Image: C. G. P. Grey / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

National library of UK facing 'major' outage after cyberattack

The British Library — one of the largest libraries in the world and the national library of the United Kingdom — said it is dealing with a cyberattack that is causing outages of several services.

The library first announced technological issues on Sunday that took down its website, phone lines and technology services at branches in London and Yorkshire. Digital collections were also down, but the library was still open and able to accept cash payments only.

By Tuesday, the library confirmed that the outages were caused by a cyberattack. The incident is currently being investigated by the National Cyber Security Centre and other cybersecurity experts.

“We’re experiencing a major technology outage as a result of a cyber incident. This is affecting our website, online systems and services, and some onsite services including public Wi-Fi,” the library said.

The library’s buildings are still open and books can still be taken out physically. Transactions are still cash-only.

The organization’s website was down as of Tuesday afternoon. No hacking group has taken credit for the incident, and the library did not respond to requests for comment about whether it was dealing with a ransomware attack.

The library holds more than 170 million items from across the world and has several locations across the United Kingdom.

Libraries can be prime targets for hackers because disruptions to digital services cause frustration for the public and the facilities maintain troves of information about users.

The cyberattack is the second one on a major library system this week following an incident in Toronto.

Major library supplier Baker & Taylor struggled for weeks in August 2022 to bring systems back online after a ransomware attack.

A popular German library service notified its users in May 2022 of a range of issues connected to a cyberattack targeting service provider EKZ.

Publishing giant Macmillan similarly struggled to recover from a ransomware attack in June 2022 that crippled its ability to process orders and run its warehouses in several countries.

Get more insights with the
Recorded Future
Intelligence Cloud.
Learn more.
No previous article
No new articles

Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.