A ransomware infection has effectively paralyzed the St. Louis Public Library System, affecting 700 public computers in 16 locations and preventing visitors from checking out books or browsing the Internet.
“Checkout and computer services at all library locations have been suspended,” reads a message on the library's website, which remains operational. Library staffers are also reportedly unable to send emails.
According to CNN, the ransom note calls for a payment of $35,000 in Bitcoins. Refusing to bow to these demands, the library is reportedly working to wipe and reset its computer system. Library spokeswoman Jen Hatton told CNN that the servers did not hold any patron or employee information.
While an outside vendor handles all checkout information, the infection, which occurred late Wednesday or early Thursday, prevents the library's server from communicating with this vendor – making transactions impossible, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has reported.