Travelex attack reflects rising ransomware risk

The problems plaguing foreign exchange firm Travelex reflect a trend among cyber criminals to deploy ransomware attacks. This is according to cyber analytics firm, CyberCube, which is warning that ransomware attacks could become so widespread they may stifle economic growth.

Client services manager at firm, Nick Beecroft said: “What’s happened to Travelex is part of a rapidly growing trend. Ransomware has become more than a cottage industry with ransomware developers and hackers teaming up to attack companies and then divide the spoils. There are also so-called ‘big game hunters’ who work alone and target firms able to pay large ransoms.

“Interestingly, while some businesses have been slow to admit they’ve fallen victim to attacks, we’ve recently seen a movement towards the publication of ‘shaming sites’ with companies infected being listed. Ransomware attacks are increasing year on year and will soon reach the point at which a major attack could cripple businesses across the world – what would amount to a complete systemic failure.”

The insurance industry, he added, has long been planning for this type of event. “At CyberCube, we’re building the complex models that allow insurers and other organisations to examine what the effect of a catastrophic ransomware attack would be. In the case of Travelex, their problems have affected partner businesses like Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Virgin Money. A major systemic ransomware event would spread much more widely, potentially hobbling large swathes of the economy.”

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