Royal Mail outgoing post severely disrupted by cyber attack

Royal Mail asked customers to cease sending letters and parcels to overseas destinations following a cyber attack that caused severe service disruptions to international exports.

The company stated Wednesday that it was temporarily unable export items and warned that parcels and letters in transit to international destinations could be delayed.

Royal Mail’s Parcelforce Worldwide brand is still available to international destinations. Customers should expect delays of up to two days, however, the company stated. Domestic mail has not been affected.

Royal Mail did not disclose the nature of the cyber attack, but it said that external advisors were engaged by Royal Mail to investigate the matter and that the incident was reported to security and regulatory authorities.

The company informed the National Cyber Security Centre of the UK, which protects UK institutions from cybercrime. It also informed the National Crime Agency, which deals with serious and organized crime.

This incident comes after six days of strikes by over 100,000 postal workers during December, which included one on Christmas Eve. Royal Mail is locked in a dispute over working conditions and pay with the Communication Workers Union.

Royal Mail workers went on strike for 18 days between August and 2022. The CWU plans to vote members starting in January, to obtain a mandate to take further action at the national level. Results will be announced on February 16. Negotiations with Royal Mail executives are continuing.

Although international parcel deliveries make up a small portion of the company’s business operations, many UK-based online merchants rely on their services. According to the latest accounts, the company shipped 152 million international parcels between March 2022 and March 2022. This is one-tenth the total volume of parcel volumes.

The company earned PS779m in international parcels revenue, though this was a significant decline from the PS1bn generated during 2021.

The government estimates that cybercrime is costing the UK economy PS28bn per year in 2018. The problem seems to be increasing in scale as more businesses are conducted online. State actors and organised criminal gangs are involved in attacks. Scams that exploited the pandemic have contributed to an increase in cybercrime directed at individuals in recent years.

Royal Mail was notified of the problem Tuesday. Since then, it has been working with affected customers and trying to find the cause. The Royal Mail has not yet stated when the problem will be fixed.

The company stated that it had asked customers to temporarily stop sending any export items to the network, while we investigate the problem. Customers may be affected by delays or disruptions to items that have been shipped for export.

“Our import operations continue their full service, with minor delays. We are working round the clock to fix this disruption. Customers will be updated as soon as we have additional information.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused to our customers.”

A spokesperson for the National Cyber Security Centre stated that they were aware of Royal Mail Group Ltd being affected by an incident and are working closely with the National Crime Agency to understand the consequences.

International Distributions Services’ share price fell by 0.8% on Wednesday after Royal Mail’s announcement.