The Vatican Apostolic Library, which houses the world’s oldest copy of the Bible and artworks by Michelangelo, among other objects and works by Virgil, Sandro Botticelli, and more historical luminaries, is amping up its cyber security as threats from hackers continue apace. According to a report by the Guardian, the library is working with the cyber security firm Darktrace to protect its ongoing, comprehensive digitization project from hackers.
The institution has reportedly faced about 100 threats per month since it began the digitization effort, which is now roughly a quarter complete, in 2012. Ultimately, the library plans to digitize some 41 million pages of sketches, notes, manuscripts, letters, and more from its collection.
Manlio Miceli, chief information office for the Vatican Apostolic Library, told the Guardian, “We cannot ignore that our digital infrastructure is of interest to hackers. A successful attack could see the collection stolen, manipulated or deleted altogether,” adding, “While physical damage is often clear and immediate, an attack of this kind wouldn’t have the same physical visibility, and so has the potential to cause enduring and potentially irreparable harm, not only to the archive but to the world’s historical memory.”
Dave Palmer, director of technology at Darktrace, a company that utilizes artificial intelligence in its cyber security technologies, told the Guardian that AI can detect “unusual activity that precedes a full-blown attack.”
The Vatican Apostolic Library’s digitization project prioritized some of the oldest and most delicate pieces in its collection, including manuscripts for the Aeneid and the Divine Comedy as well as notes and sketches by Michelangelo.