The low-cost Irish airliner, Ryanair, believes hackers were able to initiate a fraudulent transaction of $5 million (€4.5 million) to a Chinese bank while trying to steal the money. The funds have since been frozen and halted from transferring through the financial system.
Ryanair has prompted an investigation following the massive fraud, conducting a detailed forensic investigation trying to identify the origin of the fraudsters.
Just last night, Ryanair confirmed the airliner had been hit by a substantial attack related to fraud, noting that the company was investigating a “fraudulent electronic transfer via a Chinese bank last week.”
The fraud first came to light Friday, while the Criminal Assets Bureau in Dublin worked with the airliner to help quickly secure and recover the stolen funds via its counterpart agencies located throughout Asia.
“The airline has been working with its banks and the relevant authorities and understands that the funds (less than €4.5m) have now been frozen,” the Ryanair airliner said in a statement Tuesday, speaking on the massive fraud. “The airline expects these funds to be repaid shortly, and has taken steps to ensure that this type of transfer cannot recur. As this matter is subject to legal proceedings, no further comment will be made.”
Due to the Chinese bank being involved, the investigation will span across a number of different country jurisdictions. Ryanair chief executive Michael O’ Leary said the company is working aggressively to identify the culprits and is taking any security measures necessary to seal any financial gaps that allowed the fraud to be committed in the first place.
This is not the first time a major Irish company has been hacked. Just lat summer, Paddy Power online casino revealed the company had been hit by a massive data breach, resulting in the personal details of over 649,000 of its customers being stolen by cybercriminals.
The stolen data included information entered by customers signing up through Paddy Power’s online website, leaking the names, street addresses and dates of birth for over half a million clients.
Ryanair has noted the company successfully secured the funds and the $5 million fraud to the unknown Chinese bank was halted. The company believes the funds will return to their bank within the next three to five days.