Travelex: A result of human error?

On New Year’s Eve, Travelex discovered a ransomware cyber-attack on their computer systems and was forced to take themselves offline.

The foreign currency specialist, with more than 1,200 branches worldwide, was demanded by hackers to pay a fee equal to £4.6 million in return for customer data.

The sophisticated attack has since impacted high-street banks including Barclays, Lloyds and RBS, as well as leading supermarkets including Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, all who obtain their foreign notes from Travelex.

Despite continued efforts to resolve the problem, there is still no mention of what caused the breach.

There has been a number of anonymous employee claims of poor internal communications and many criticisms of management, which leads to the question of whether this ransomware cyber-attack was a result of human error – or perhaps an insider threat…

While the cause may fall on I.T. infrastructure, it is not uncommon for organisations to face the consequences of a general lack of cyber security awareness, with research suggesting over 90% of successful cyber breaches are facilitated by human error.

This also links with the insider threat. With a limited understanding and acceptance for cyber security responsibility, many organisations are unaware or ignore, the risk presented by a disgruntled employee with easy access to sensitive data.

At Intqual-pro, we are urging organisations – small and large – to change their cyber security culture before they face a situation similar to Travelex.

Initiatives such as Cyber Stars provide an opportunity for organisations to enhance cyber security awareness throughout the wider workforce and ensure that personal responsibility for cyber security is taken beyond the I.T. department.

To find out how you could register to the Cyber Stars Initiative and minimise your cyber risk, contact

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