February 22, 2024

At 9:54 A.M. on October 28th, the British Library’s X account displayed an apologetic message, explaining that the website was experiencing technical issues. For the library, a red-brick structure close to King’s Cross station in London, Saturdays were usually filled with people requesting everything from Shakespeare’s works to “The Art of Faking Exhibition Poultry.” It was during this time that I first encountered the Premonitions Bureau, and ultimately, wrote a book about the experience. The library’s technical issues soon escalated, as public Wi-Fi and the online catalog were no longer working. Even after the library reopened post-weekend, online services remained down. Eventually, a hacking group called Rhysida attempted to sell over 490,191 stolen files from the library, but they refused to pay. This resulted in Rhysida making ninety percent of the data available for download on the dark Web. The library has faced significant trauma and continued electronic issues, with entire reading rooms being affected. Additionally, despite some return to normalcy, the ramifications of the cyberattack have been significant for those who rely on the British Library’s collections and digital information.