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Rail company taken offline due to suspected ransomware attack

As reported in the NCSC Weekly Threat Report last week, rail company Northern, who operate services in the East Midlands, are experiencing a huge problem with their self-service ticket machines after they were taken offline due to a suspected ransomware attack last week (July 20).

The incident is subject to an ongoing investigation by Northern and its supplier, Flowbird Transport Intelligence, which has said that customer and payment data has not been compromised.

The rail company installed 621 new Ticket Vending Machines in May, spanning its entire network as part of a comprehensive modernisation scheme which cost £17m. The modern touch-screen machines can be found at around 420 stations, but all of them were taken offline swiftly after consultation with Flowbird.

The cyber-attack caused an outage to the servers that operate the ticket machines.

Northern Rail was quoted by the BBC as saying: “This is the subject of an ongoing investigation with our supplier, but indications are that the ticket machine service has been subject to a ransomware cyber attack.”

Ransomware is a prominent global cyber threat and the NCSC works to build resilience in the UK.

Organisations should take steps to mitigate the risk of falling victim to a ransomware attack, and the NCSC also has published actionable guidance to help them do so:


Reporting Cyber Crime

The East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre provides advice and guidance to protect and prevent businesses from falling victim to cyber crime. However, if you have become a victim of cyber crime, you need to know what to do next, we have all the information you need on how to report it.



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