The British Library has confirmed a ransomware attack is behind a major outage that is still affecting services across several locations.

Cyber criminals knocked out the website of the UK’s national library used by over 11 million people a year.

It has also taken down WiFi inside the building beside London St Pancras Station preventing users ordering material from the library’s 150 million-strong collection.

An investigation has been launched with the support of the National Cyber Security Centre, the Metropolitan Police and cybersecurity specialists.

British Library’s chief executive Sir Roly Keating said: “We are immensely grateful to our many users and partners who have shown such patience and support as we work to analyze the impact of this criminal attack and identify what we need to do to restore our online systems in a safe and sustainable manner.

“It is too soon to offer an exact timetable, but we will provide regular updates as we progress this vital work.”

Cyber attackers motivation is financial. As the name of the crime suggests, the aim is to hold organisations and businesses to ransom using a type of malware software to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorised access to computer systems.

A British Library spokesman tweeted: “The British Library is continuing to experience a major technology outage, as a result of a cyber attack.

“The outage is affecting our website, online systems and services, as well as some onsite services including our Reading Rooms and public WiFi.

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