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January 12, 2023

Royal Mail international delivery problems ongoing following ‘cyber incident’

The postal service says domestic deliveries are being carried out as normal following yesterday's incident.

By Claudia Glover

Royal Mail has announced that its delivery services will be operational today in the UK as it continues to deal with the fall-out from a “cyber incident” announced yesterday. It makes no mention of the company’s international delivery services, which appear to still be impacted by the problem.

Royal Mail data breach
The Royal Mail has suffered its second data breach in three months. (Photo by Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock)

A brief statement issued this morning says: “Delivery and collection services will take place across the UK today,” hinting at ongoing issues with its international dispatch services. This could potentially be the second breach that the company has suffered in as many months, following an incident in November that knocked the company’s Click & Drop services offline.

Royal Mail cyberattack? ‘cyber incident’ is ongoing

The postal service admitted that it was suffering issues with deliveries yesterday. “Royal Mail is experiencing severe service disruption to our international export services following a cyber incident,” it said.

The statement went on to explain that it is currently “unable to despatch items to overseas destinations” and that the company recommends that customers “hold any export mail items while we work to resolve the issue, items that have already been despatched may be subject to delays.”

Knock-on effects are being felt across the rest of its service, with Royal Mail stating that its import operations are suffering some “minor delays”. 

Royal Mail says it is working to resolve the issue and has called in external experts to help with an investigation. It has not disclosed any further details of the nature of the incident, or whether any of its data has been compromised.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre announced its involvement yesterday, saying: “We are aware of an incident affecting Royal Mail Group Ltd and are working with the company, alongside the National Crime Agency, to fully understand the impact.”

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The cyber incident comes after a cyberattack in November, which halted the service’s Click & Drop platform, preventing customers from paying for postage online, printing out transport labels and tracking the parcels once in transit. Tech Monitor reported at the time that the outage left business owners without access to the crucial service.

A former head of information security at Royal Mail, Anthony Davis, is not surprised that the company has suffered another incident.: “I have a good idea which systems at the Royal Mail could be affected but it’s early days so far and the incident response will likely take some time,” he said in an emailed statement.

Davis, who was the head of information security at the Royal Mail until 2009, is doubtful that the company will release much more information before the end of the investigation. “Let’s see what the investigation discovers and, if it was in fact a cyberattack, who was responsible. The National Cyber Security Centre is pretty good about attributing attacks to perpetrators, eventually,” he added.

Read more: Cyberattacks are biggest risk to UK financial system

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