Potential Online Privacy Issue: Bedford Public Library

During a routine public computer inspection at Bedford Public Library, staff discovered a keylogger device plugged into one public computer. A keylogger is a USB hardware device that can capture computer keystrokes.

What is a keylogger?

Keyloggers are new technology that can capture personal data such as login information and passwords (such as Apple, Google, social media, gaming platforms or online banking). The keylogger only captures data from the computer it is plugged into. When used maliciously, a keylogger can capture user’s personal information.

What should I do if I used a public computer at Bedford Public Library recently?

Due to the nature of the device, we are unable to know what information the keylogger gained or if any of the information has been used. However, given the type of information that is accessed on public computers, Halifax Public Libraries strongly advises that, as a precautionary measure, you should:

  • Change passwords for any accounts that may have been accessed, especially for any sensitive ones such as Apple or Google accounts and online banking.
  • Carefully review bank and credit card accounts and statements and report any suspicious activity or transactions to their financial institution.

If any accounts have been compromised, you may wish to:

  • Contact HRM police to file a report.
  • Request a free fraud alert on your credit file with a credit reporting agency such as Equifax or TransUnion.
  • Notify the Canada Revenue Agency of potential fraud (1-800-959-8281 and select the “report suspected fraud or identity theft” to prioritize your call to speak to a specialized agent as quickly as possible).

How is Halifax Public Libraries responding?

Once the keylogger was found, Halifax Public Libraries responded by:

  • Auditing every public computer at Halifax Public Libraries’ 14 branches. There have been no other keylogger devices found at Halifax Public Libraries’ public computers.
  • Establishing more frequent visual checks of public computer work stations and modifications to workstations to deter malicious activity.
  • Contacting Halifax Regional Police to report the incident and Halifax Public Libraries are working with authorities to determine any next steps.
  • Reporting the incident to the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Nova Scotia.
  • Reaching out directly to impacted Bedford Public Library users.

What should you do if you find a keylogger?

 If you find a hardware keylogger installed on a public library computer, please alert staff. Do not remove the keylogger.

Are public computers and free WiFi safe to use?

Public computers and free WIFI are convenient and equitable technology options, however, they are not always private or secure. Be mindful what information you share on public networks and devices and always consider your online privacy. You can learn more about protecting your privacy online at GetCyberSafe.GC.CA.

Further resources for online safety

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre


Halifax Public Libraries’ Technology Use Policy