The attack on Travelex has enveloped major banks who relied on the company to provide a way for their customers to access foreign cash online.
More than a dozen, including RBS, Virgin Money and Barclays, say their online foreign currency services are down because of the New Year’s Eve cyber attack on Travelex.
Pen and paper
The travel money giant said it had been the victim of a software virus last week, but the website is still not operating – forcing the company to resort to using pen and paper.
Many of the affected banks are also processing requests for foreign currency in their branches, but not online.
In a statement issued on social media, Travelex warned the cyber attack had “compromised some of its services”, stating: “As a precautionary measure to protect data and prevent the spread of the virus, we immediately took all of our systems offline.”
A ransomware gang called Sodinokibi has told the BBC it is behind the hack and wants Travelex to pay $6 million (£4.6 million).
The gang, also known as REvil, claims to have gained access to the company’s computer network six months ago and to have downloaded 5GB of sensitive customer data.
Advice for customers
Travelex apologised to customers for the inconvenience caused, but reassured them that their investigation “to date” had not shown that any personal or customer data has been compromised.
They said a team of IT specialists and cyber security experts had been “working continuously since New Year’s Eve to isolate the virus and restore affected systems.”
Customers with any issues caused by the shutdown of Travelex’s website were advised to use Twitter to contact the company’s customer care team.
“Please DM [Direct Message] any queries so that we can try to help resolve any issues as quickly as possible,” the statement said.
Travelex’s network of branches around the UK are still operational, and are providing foreign exchange services manually.
Founded in 1976 and headquartered in London, Travelex is the world’s largest currency exchange bureau.
It main business focuses are facilitating international payments, bureau de change, and pre-paid travel credit cards.
In 2015, the company was valued at around £1 billion when UAE-based Indian businessman Bavaguthu Shetty bought the controlling stake in the company.