In 2017, cybercriminals locked access to approximately 700 computers with a ransomware attack on libraries across the city of St Louis. In 2018, a virus infected around 600 computers in an attack on libraries in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. This is only two examples of recent attacks on libraries like yours. Cybercrime is evolving at a rapid rate – becoming incredibly sophisticated with coordinated attacks on businesses of all types and sizes. No library is safe. In fact, even small libraries should be concerned because they tend to have fewer resources and smaller budgets to dedicate to staying safe and cybercriminals know this.
The answer is simple. Those who use public library internet can’t control what type of protective measures are in place while they’re making transactions, accessing their bank, and other sensitive activities. In addition, there are typically many users on a single computer each and every day – meaning there are more opportunities for cybercriminals to gain access to the network. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re safe because you’re a smaller library. Hackers tend to view libraries as fantastic places to gather information from hundreds of patrons at once.
After all, libraries have a plethora of computers and they tend to provide open access for many people who come through the doors. So how can you keep your library, and in turn, your patrons safe against the risk of cybercrime? What is the best way to keep your entire network safe against cyber-attacks?
In this case, knowledge is prevention. It’s best to be aware of the fact that it’s not a matter of if, but when, your library will experience an attempted cyber-attack. Ransomware is one of the most common forms of attacks on libraries nowadays. Essentially, a cybercriminal directs an individual to click a link or visit a website that downloads malicious software on the network. This might be done via a phishing email or through a suspicious link on the web.
Once the malicious software is downloaded, the cybercriminal is able to take control of the computers connected to the network – demanding a ransom in exchange for control being returned. This means the cybercriminal has access to all of the data that’s stored on all of the computers. Remember the ransomware attack that took place in 2017 on libraries throughout St Louis mentioned above? Here’s what Walter McGuire, Executive Director of St. Louis Public Library, said in a public letter…
“Our protection systems and software were sophisticated and up-to-date, yet we were successfully breached. Thousands of St. Louisans depend on our computers and networks every day to access a world of vital information and services. Balancing that demand for open access against the need for protection takes a great deal of staff work and expense.”
Ultimately, libraries need an advanced, multi-layered approach to cybersecurity – an approach that takes into consideration the importance of still allowing open access to patrons. This is best left to a team of experts who know what they’re doing. This advanced, multi-layered approach should include:
But here’s the thing: cybersecurity should never be an after-thought, and when it is, it’s even more important to work with a team of experts who are able to integrate proper measures into every area of your infrastructure. Otherwise, you risk leaving vulnerabilities open to be exploited.
Take the First Step on the Path Towards Safety Against Cybercrime… Come See Us at the ILA 2019 Conference on October 22 – 24, 2019.
At the very least, stop by our booth 504 and talk to us to get started on the path towards safety against cybercrime. We can take a few minutes to fill you in on what you need to be doing to keep your library safe against ransomware, malware, viruses, and more. We’re even having a draw for a black kindle paperwhite – complete with 32 GB and wi-fi enabled.
If you’re ready to start securing your library, and in turn, your patrons now, contact us.
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