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Cyber Attack Disrupts Local Library Service in Washington

Bellingham and Whatcom County libraries are responding to a potential malware incident that crippled digital services. County officials report that patron data does not appear to have been compromised in the attack.

(TNS) — A possibly criminal malware attack has crippled some digital services at Bellingham and Whatcom County libraries.

Library patron data is secure, however, according to a statement at the Whatcom County Library System website.

But the Whatcom County Library System cannot receive phone calls or email, and patrons cannot reserve new materials or schedule pickups online, services that have been popular since the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We suspect malware but our investigation is ongoing. This is a serious and criminal matter and we are doing all we can to address it," the statement said.

"This is a rapidly evolving situation. We will be posting updates to this web page as we learn more," the statement said.

Both Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County libraries remain open for borrowing books and other materials, but many popular digital services are unavailable, such as newspapers and magazines, and some language services, music and films.

Bellingham library patrons can still use its online borrowing services and schedule pickups.

Digital books are still available through the Libby app and Washington Anytime Library.

"At this point, we do not know the full impact, but will keep you informed as we learn more. Our priority is on keeping libraries open with the ability to check out materials," the statement said.

©2022 The Bellingham Herald, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.