Some Travelex services back up and running after cyber attack

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Signage with graffiti next to it is seen on a branch of Travelex Currency Exchange in London, Britain, January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Travelex has successfully re-launched some services in the UK, over two weeks after its entire business was paralysed by a ‘ransomware’ cyber attack.

The world’s largest foreign exchange broker said Friday it had begun to turn systems back on at its branch networks and at partners across the UK.

“We have started restoring forex order processing electronically in our UK stores and in some of our UK retail partner locations, and we are also now starting our VAT refund service in UK airports,” chief executive Tony D’Souza said in a statement.

“Our priority throughout our recovery is to ensure that systems are brought back up in a controlled, secure and managed way.”

Travelex said systems would be gradually be bought back online over the coming weeks. The company’s website remains down.

Travelex was hit by a ‘ransomware’ attack on New Year’s Eve, when cyber attackers froze its network and demanded $6m to unlock it. Travelex immediately shut off its systems and has been trying to restore operations ever since.

READ MORE: Banks disrupted as Travelex hit by virus

Staff at Travelex shops have been forced to log transactions with pen and paper, and customers have been unable to do anything digitally.

The attack sent shockwaves across the UK travel money sector. Travelex does foreign exchange broking behind the scene for many of the UK’s major banks and all were left unable to process money orders.

D’Souza said Travelex was “in the advanced stages of testing the systems supporting bank note orders by our UK high street banking partners.”

“I would like to thank our partners and customers for supporting us and confirm we will continue to restore systems as quickly as possible,” he said.

Travelex said Friday it had also launched a new website to provide updates to customers and partners on the recovery process.

The Metropolitan Police and the National Crime Agency continue to investigate the attack.

READ MORE: Travelex insists no data hacked as cyber attack continues