Ransomers Demand £4.6m After Travelex Hack– Banks are still affected
On New Year’s Eve, the foreign exchange company Travelex was forced to take its services offline following a ransomware attack by cyber hackers.
They are reportedly threatening to release customer data such as card payment information and dates of birth if Travelex doesn’t pay the $6 million (£4.6 million) bitcoin ransom. Despite this, Travelex says there is no evidence that any personal data has been compromised.
Travelex staff have had to go back to basics.
The travel money service provider has had to turn back time in its 1200 airport and non-airport locations. Instead of operating through the company’s usual computer-based system, staff are having to use pen and paper to process customer orders. Whilst it’s fortunate Travelex are able to provide in-store services despite the hack, they’re still currently unable to process any orders online.
The hackers, a gang called Sodinokibi, have told the BBC they gained access to the company’s computer network six months ago and claim to have downloaded 5GB of sensitive customer data.
Dates of birth, credit card information and national insurance numbers are all in their possession, they said.
The boss of Travelex has broken his silence over the weekend about a cyber attack that forced its staff to use pen and paper and halted travel money sales at some banks and supermarkets.
The firm has released a number of short statements since cyber criminals held the firm to ransom on 31 December.
But in a video message on the firm’s website, boss Tony D’Souza said the IT system used by in-store staff was working again, he also said it was “not appropriate” to discuss details of the attack.
However, other systems remain offline.
Customers are in limbo.
Many customers who ordered currency via Travelex’s website just before the site went down have now been told that they can’t collect their cash, as their details can’t be accessed.
Others have complained that they are stranded abroad without access to the money they put on their Travelex ATM cards. All they are being told is to wait until the company fixes the problem, with no indication of when that will be.
Banks and other large companies have also been affected
Unfortunately, it’s not just online Travelex customers that have been impacted by the attack. The currency trader also provides foreign exchange services for customers of Barclays, Virgin Money and HSBC, as well as the banking arms of Tesco and Sainsburys.
A Barclays spokesperson said: “Unfortunately we are unable to process foreign currency orders due to an issue with our service provider, Travelex. We are sorry for the inconvenience and will be restoring the service as soon as we are able to do so.”
The bank said: “Our travel money purchasing service is temporarily unavailable.”
It said: “Unfortunately, our online travel money service is currently unavailable due to a service issue with third party service provider, Travelex. We are not currently able to take travel money orders online or via telephone banking. We apologise for any inconvenience.”
Lloyds, the parent of Halifax, said that the service had been lost.
HBOS’s parent Lloyds confirmed that the service was down.
The bank said on its website: “Unfortunately, our online travel money service is currently unavailable due to a service issue with third party service provider, Travelex. We are not currently able to take travel money orders online or via telephone banking. We apologise for any inconvenience.”
The bank confirmed to PA that its service was down. A Lloyds Banking Group spokesperson said: “We are currently unable to take orders for foreign currency online and in branch, due to the ongoing issue with our third party supplier, Travelex. Customers can visit our branches to purchase currency which may already be in stock. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.”
The bank, which is part of the RBS group, said: “We are currently unable to accept any travel money orders either online, in branch or by telephone due to issues with our Travel Money supplier, Travelex. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The bank said on its website: “Our online service is temporarily unavailable. Our in store travel money bureaux are open and stock most major currencies. We recommend you contact our team to check the availability of the currency you need. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”
The Royal Bank of Scotland
RBS said: “We are currently unable to accept any travel money orders either online, in branch or by telephone due to issues with our Travel Money supplier, Travelex. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The bank said on its website: “We’re sorry that we can’t offer online ordering for Travel Money at this time.
“We have over 360 in-store Tesco Travel Money bureaux that are open as normal and hold stock for our top currencies. We recommend that you contact them first to check the availability of the currency that you are interested in.”
The bank said on its website: “Our travel money purchasing service is temporarily unavailable. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and if you have any questions please call on.”
The importance of cyber security
This recent Travelex cyber attack really does highlight the importance of top-grade system security. At Cirrus Technology Solutions, we provide businesses all over the UK with cyber security services such as ransomware detection, anti-virus software and much more.
Think Cirrus can assist you no matter where you are. Fill in our easy contact form to receive a quote, or get in touch on 03303 130966.