It has been reported that, following an initial attack on the Travelex network on New Year’s Eve, hackers are now demanding a ransom to give the firm access to its systems. They have demanded payment in exchange for either restoration of IT systems or the preservation of customer data. It is understood that a deadline for payment has been set by the cyber criminals.
Commenting on this, Sam Curry, chief security officer at Cybereason, said “Today, most companies have contingency plans and tools in place to deal with the ransomware threat. Because of these factors, many organisations feel like ransomware is now an understood and contained risk. However, that’s for the most part a false sense of security because most of the lack of recent ransomware outbreaks is due to the attackers using it differently, more surgically, if you will, not because defenders are stopping it better.
The lifeblood of Travelex’s business is undoubtedly its ability for partners and customers to have access to their online travel services, and every minute their systems are locked and offline their business is suffering. Details are scant at this time, but this is an early 2020 wake up call to all organisations to maintain regular and constant backups of important files and consistently verify that the backups can be restored. Organisations should also educate their employees on refraining from downloading pirated software or paid software offered for ‘free,’ as humans are the single biggest asset cyber criminals have in extorting money from businesses. Lastly, organisations should deploy advanced anti-ransomware technology to prevent the effective execution of ransomware and help to make cybercrime a less profitable and attractive business.”