Ransomware linked with Russian criminals has caused severe disruption to Royal Mail’s overseas delivery, according to BBC.
Cyber-attacks have affected the Royal Mail’s computer systems used to dispatch international deliveries.
Royal Mail has been warning customers about disruptions due to a cyber-incident since Wednesday.
The latest advice from the organization is to not send international parcels or letters until the problem is resolved.
Ransomware is malicious computer malware that encrypts and locks up data.
According to a source close, Lockbit was the ransomware used in this attack.
According to computer security companies, the software was developed by criminal gangs that have links to Russia.
BBC received a ransom note from the criminals to Royal Mail. It stated: “Your data have been stolen and encrypted.”
Although the ransom demand is likely to reach the millions, sources close to the investigation claim that there are “workarounds” to restart the system.
Ransomware attacks pose a constant threat to organizations around the globe. They happen almost daily.
This is an important situation, however, because Royal Mail is considered “critical national infrastructure”, which is crucial to the UK’s economy.
This attack does not affect just one company or its customers. It also affects communications and businesses of citizens both at home and abroad.
Ransomware groups often increase pressure on companies to transfer funds in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to an anonymous digital account.
They will be given a deadline and likely to threaten Royal Mail with the possibility of sensitive data being published.
Although LockBit appears to be rooted in Russia, the hacker who carried out the attack could have been anywhere.
A Russian-Canadian national was detained in November for allegedly hacking LockBit from Canada.
Royal Mail spokeswoman declined to confirm whether the attack was ransomware but reiterated to customers that disruptions in delivery are possible.
It is currently unable to send overseas letters or parcels, but the company says that it is working hard to resolve the problem.
Post-arriving in the UK can also cause minor delays, but domestic delivery is unaffected.
According to the company, delays could occur for customers who have already sent items overseas before the incident.
A spokesperson for the National Crime Agency stated that it was aware of an incident impacting Royal Mail and was working with the National Cyber Security Centre (part of the UK’s cyber intelligence agency GCHQ) to assess its impact.
Royal Mail uses the affected back office system to prepare mail for overseas despatch and to track and trace items.
It is currently in use at six locations, including Royal Mail’s massive Heathrow distribution center in Slough and its Bristol site.
Royal Mail has been faced with a variety of obstacles in recent months, including delivery delays due to postal workers striking over pay and conditions.