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Toronto Public Library systems to remain down until 2024 following cyberattack

Toronto Public Library says employee information dating back more than 20 years was likely taken in a cyberattack, including social insurance numbers and copies of government-issued identification. A man uses a computer keyboard in Toronto, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023 in this photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy. ROY, RJB

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) says access to its system will remain down until the new year as a result of a cyberattack in late October.

“Given the complexity and magnitude of this task involving TPL’s data centre and computers across 100 library branches, and the interconnectivity of our systems, we anticipate the restoration of library services will take several more weeks,” the library said in a media release.

Access to services will be restored gradually starting in January, with priority given to the reinstatement of tpl.ca and public computing services, TPL said.

“We recognize that this is a long period of time without full library services, but this is considered an aggressive timeframe within the context of such an attack and the experience of other institutions in similar circumstances,” the statement reads.

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The TPL was a victim of a cybersecurity attack on Oct. 28 when hackers stole a large number of files from its servers.

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Officials said private data of current and former employees, including staff names, home addresses, social insurance numbers, and copies of government-issued identification, were likely taken in the cyberattack.

The library says it has been working with third-party experts “around the clock”over the past several weeks to restore systems and enhance network security.

“This work involves ensuring the security and integrity of each system before bringing it back online,” the statement reads.

While library branches have been able to remain open, many of the services that visitors rely on are still unavailable.

Click to play video: 'Toronto public library holds meeting to address ransomware attack'
Toronto public library holds meeting to address ransomware attack

— With files from the Canadian Press.

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