Travelex, the foreign currency seller, has taken down its website following a cyber attack which took place on New Year’s Eve.

The company resorted to carrying out manual transactions in its branches, enabling customers to still receive a service. 

Tony D’Souza, Travelex boss, said:

“We regret having to suspend our services in order to contain the virus and protect data. 

“We apologise to all our customers for any inconvenience cause as a result. We are doing all we can to restore our full services as soon as possible.” 

The cyber attack, in the form of a ‘software virus’ is said to have compromised some of the organisation’s services. 

Although a note on the company’s website states that it is down due to ‘planned maintenance and will be back online soon’, a notice published to the social media site Twitter and the firm’s dot-com site revealed a different side to the story. 

The notice read:

“As a precautionary measure in order to protect data and the spread of the virus, we immediately took all our systems offline. Our investigation to date shows no indication that any personal or customer data has been compromised. 

 “We have deployed teams of IT specialists and external cyber security experts who have been working continuously since New Year’s Eve to isolate the virus and restore affected systems.” 

However, it’s not just Travelex that are affected by this attack. Several high street banks use their banking platform to conduct foreign currency exchange. 

Sainsbury’s Bank, Virgin Money, Barclays and HSBC are amongst those who are affected. 

Virgin Money’s site showed an error message, which said:

“Our online, foreign currency purchasing service is temporarily unavailable due to planned maintenance. The system will be back online shortly.” 

Sainsbury’s Bank also said its online travel money services were unavailable, although it said customers could still buy travel money in its stores. In a statement to the BBC, the bank said:

“We’re in close contact with Travelex so that we can resume our online service as soon as possible.” 

 Cyber security experts have praised the business for their quick and honest response to the attack. 

 Iain Kothari-Johnson, Financial Services Lead for Cyber Security at Fujitsu UK said:

“Having a well-tested resilience plan in place that covers the technical aspects, communication with the public and clear responsibilities for handling incidents can ultimately make a difference between a costly response and maintaining customer trust. 

 “Break-glass incident response services, where experts are on-hand to rapidly investigate and mitigate threats, can also help reduce the financial and reputational impact of this type of incident and should be considered as part of any good resilience plan.”