Onondaga Libraries hit by ransomware attack, locations open but some services affected

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Libraries across Onondaga County continue to deal with service issues caused by a cyber attack discovered last Friday.

While it is unlikely any library card or other personal information is at risk, Past Library Chair Ginny Biesiada said the ransomware attack continues to hold the library system hostage.

“Ransomware encrypts data, it doesn’t extract data so if you are worried that information about your library card may be extracted I’ve been insured that is not a concern,” said Biesiada.

Since the ransomware was detected Onondaga County has been in contact with the FBI and IT teams have been working non-stop to get the system back to normal.

During the outage, all Onondaga County Library locations will remain open but some services are unavailable:

At Central & City Branch Libraries

  • Phone Service
  • Public Computers
  • Wifi

At All OCPL Locations [Including Central & City Libraries]

  • OCPL Catalog
  • OCPL Databases
  • Overdrive
  • Hoopla
  • Freegal

“We have our member [suburban] libraries and those are still up and operational and we are referring people to go there if they need internet access in the meantime,” said Biesiada.

Ransomware holds computer data hostage, while hackers demand money in exchange for its release. An Onondaga County spokesperson indicated before a ransom request was received the library system was shut down, however, if a ransom was requested the spokesperson said the county would not pay it.

The county does not expect to have to purchase any new hardware or software to fix the issue, although the timeline to do so is uncertain. The priority is to get the system used to check-in and out books up as soon as possible.

The additional cost to Onondaga County taxpayers is still unclear.

While services are down library staff is encouraging patrons to reach out with questions via social media.

NewsChannel 9 has confirmed the brand of ransomware used in the library attack, Ryuk is the same as the ransomware that impacted The Syracuse City School District last week.

The two attacks are separate but the district has been unwilling to answer questions about how it is handling the attack.

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