Royal Mail have experienced what they are calling a cyber incident which they announced on Wednesday afternoon. This has impacted all outgoing international mail meaning nothing is moving out of the country.
They are requesting that shippers cease despatching items destined for overseas destinations as they can’t move them out of the country and, we suspect, their warehouses are filling up with items already in the network.
We are temporarily unable to despatch items to overseas destinations. We strongly recommend that you temporarily hold any export mail items while we work to resolve the issue. Items that have already been despatched may be subject to delays. We would like to sincerely apologise to impacted customers for any disruption this incident is causing.– Royal Mail
Royal Mail say that imports are largely still taking place with some delays and that Parcelforce export services are still operating but will experience a one to two day delay.
The company has said that they are ‘working around the cloc’k to resolve this disruption and will post updates as soon as they have more information.
Royal Mail also add that they immediately launched an investigation into the cyber incident and are working with external experts. They have also reported the incident to our regulators and the relevant security authorities.
Describing the issue as a cyber incident suggests that they’re not sure if they’ve been hacked or if it’s simply a software glitch or even the possibility of sabotage. They have support from both the National Cyber Security Centre based in GCHQ who are assisting to try and figure out what has happened, and the National Crime Agency. Naturally they’ve also had to report themselves to the ICO.
The announcment is carefully worded, but immediately stating that they are working around the clock suggests that the incident may have started as early as Tuesday and that they had been trying to solve the issue for some time. One would hardly expect a ’round the clock’ statement for an issue that was only a couple of hours old.
Also the cyber incident wording suggests that they really don’t know what went wrong and if they have actually experienced a cyber attack. A cyber attack is an incident that would normally be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre but involving the National Crime Agency does suggest they suspect other criminal activity may have taken place.
This Royal Mail cyber incident comes after months of strike action with consumers still seeing significant delays to domestic mail.