Update: The library system has recovered access to its computers.
The libraries of St Louis, MO have been crippled by a ransomware attack that has shut down the public terminals the library provides to the poor and vulnerable of St Louis, as well as the systems used to process book and material lending (the catalog is on a separate, uninfected system).
The criminals who took over the library system want $35,000 in Bitcoin to give it back. The FBI is investigating. The library does not store sensitive patron data, so the hack does not expose patrons to data-breach risks.
The city's libraries are overwhelmingly used by school children and the city's poorer residents.
"For many of our patrons, we're their only access to the internet," Hatton said. "This is their only access to a computer. Some of them have a smartphone, but they don't have a data plan. They come in and use the WiFi."
According to the library, the criminals managed to infect a centralized computer server, destroying the staff's email system as well.
St. Louis' public library computers hacked for ransom