Money exchange office GWK Travelex paid $ 2.3 million in bitcoins, about € 2.1 million, after a ransomware attack to free the systems from rogue software. The Wall Street Journal reports this on Thursday based on insiders.

GWK Travelex was hit by ransomware called Sodinokibi on New Year's Eve. The software encrypts systems and then asks for a ransom to release them again.

The digital hostage-taking forced the company to take the systems offline. Visitors were therefore unable to place an order for foreign currency online, and had to divert to a physical location of the exchange office.

Travelex put down a total of 285 bitcoin, equivalent to about $ 2.3 million, to regain access to the systems, someone with knowledge of the transaction tells The Wall Street Journal . In mid-February, the company's Dutch servers were back online.

Travelex tells the newspaper that during the incident, advice was sought from experts and company regulators and partners were kept informed about efforts to restore the systems. The company declined to comment on the incident. The London police are conducting a criminal investigation into the digital hostage-taking.

At the end of December, Maastricht University (UM) was also hit by comparable software. UM paid nearly two tons to cyber criminals to regain access to the systems.

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