September 20, 2020

What businesses can learn from the Travelex cyber attack

Foreign currency seller Travelex was forced to take down its website following a cyber-attack on New Year’s Eve with hackers still holding the company to ransom more than a week later.

Although the company said an early investigation “shows no indication that any personal or customer data has been compromised” Travelex has resorted to carrying out transactions manually.

Susan Hall a specialist in information and communications technology said the company’s response to the attack has been spot on and other businesses should take note.

Susan, a partner in the intellectual property team at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, said:

“Initial indications suggest that Travelex are doing the right thing. Businesses, particularly ones in the financial services sector, have to be prepared to be the focus of a cyber-attack, and this is an example, working through in real time, of what seems to be a disaster recovery plan swinging into operation.

“There is a manual alternative to keep services running, clear communication to the public and reassurance about data security.

“It’s particularly admirable since it’s multinational and occurring at a time where there are likely to be a lot of people off on holiday.”

Susan believes Travelex has demonstrated a good model of practice and has given a five-point plan for businesses to protect themselves in similar circumstances.

1) First step is to develop a good disaster recovery plan for your business. This plan should be constantly refined and updated and most importantly it should be tested to check it is fit for purpose.
2) Response team should be on call 24/7 – cyber criminals don’t sleep so your team can’t either!
3) Causation, Correction and Communication: analyse what went wrong, correct what went wrong and communicate what you’re doing.
4) Lead from the top: make sure that communications come from a senior source who acts as the company spokesman. It is therefore important to ensure that whoever is on the frontline is appropriately media trained and confident in dealing with press and public enquiries.
5) Don’t skimp on resources – throw everything at it that’s needed.

Clarke Willmott LLP is a national law firm with seven offices across the country in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

For more information visit www.clarkewillmott.com