One of the largest foreign exchange company of UK, Travelex, Hacked!

  • Travelex system was hacked on New Year’s eve. It is one of the largest Foreign Exchange Companies in the UK.
  • Hackers are demanding for a ransom.
  • Travelex kiosks and counters remain open but their online platform is currently disabled.
Travelex system is down after hackers penetrated their system.
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Hackers were successful in penetrating the system of Travelex, one of the largest foreign exchange companies in the UK that are also operating branches around the globe. Still, unidentified, the hackers installed a software virus, also known as ransomware, and are asking for $6 million worth of ransom in return for Travelex customer data. The compromise was discovered on New Year’s eve.

Currently, all Travelex branches are operating on pen and paper to ensure that business operations continue. Their system is down, and transactions online are also put on a halt.

Travelex Money Card, a card that works like an atm card, will also not be working as usual for now, Travelex said. Selling and reloading the card is not applicable at the moment. Customers are encouraged to view their balance, transactions, and PIN at us.travelexmoneycard.com.

Travelex assures customer data is safe

In a statement posted on their website, Travelex assured that their customers’ data is secure and has not been compromised. “To date, our investigation shows that customer data has not been compromised,” Travelex said.

Travelex said it had implemented precautionary measures as soon as the hack was identified.  According to Travelex, they immediately took all its systems offline to prevent the spread of the virus further across the network.

The company assures the public that they have already contained the virus and are not working to restore their system. They said they are trying to resume normal operations as quickly as possible.

Despite the situation, the foreign exchange company’s branches are still in operation and are providing foreign exchange services manually. It has more than 1,200 kiosks and counters in at least 70 countries. Their branches continue to service customers seven days a week.

The company has apologized to its customers for the inconvenience.

Travelex provides the largest foreign currency exchange in UK and in 70 countries.
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High Street Banks are Affected

It is not only Travelex that was impacted, but a few of the high street banks in the UK have also stopped customers ordering foreign currency.  Among those are Lloyds, Barclays, and Royal Bank of Scotland, which operate some branches in supermarkets. These companies are getting foreign notes from them.

All get their foreign notes from Travelex, whose computer system is down after hackers demanded $6m (£4.6m) in return for customer data.

Another International Bank affected is HSBC that also uses Travelex to offer currency exchange services. Reports from media platforms such as the BBC said these banks are also waiting for Travelex to fix the issue.

Law Officers are Working

While Travelex is doing its investigation, London’s Metropolitan Police and the National Crime Agency are also conducting criminal investigations. The National Cyber Security Center, which is a part of a government intelligence agency, also told the media that is trying to understand the impact of the hack.

Although the virus was detected on New Year’s Eve, authorities said it was only reported to the Metropolitan Police on January 2.

The Information COmmissioner’s Office, a British Government Agency, has assured that the company has not reported any data breach. This agency enforces data protection laws. Under European data privacy law, a fine awaits companies that are hacked if regulators determine that they did not do enough to protect their information. Fines reach as high as 20 million euros, or about $22 million, or 4 percent of the previous year’s worldwide annual revenue, whichever is higher.

Another regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, also informed reliable news sources that it is in contact with the currency exchange company. They said they are expecting it to treat their affected customers fairly.

 

 

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