Royal Mail Struck By ‘Cyber-Incident’ Leading To Post Delay

By   Adeola Adegunwa
Writer , Informationsecuritybuzz | Jan 12, 2023 11:59 am PST

It has been reported that the Royal Mail, a primary postal service in the United Kingdom, has been hit by a cyber-incident. The company has advised customers to stop sending items overseas while it works to resolve the issue. In addition, there may be minor delays to deliveries into the UK. However, domestic deliveries are said to be unaffected.

The Royal Mail is a vital communication service provider in the United Kingdom, handling millions of letters and packages every day. It has a long history, way back to 1516, and has been a government-owned company since the mid-19th century. It plays a critical role in the UK’s economy, connecting businesses and individuals across the country.

Impact on Operations

The incident has had a significant impact on the Royal Mail’s operations. The company has stated that there are delays to both domestic and international deliveries. This has caused inconvenience for many customers, who can now not send items overseas until the issue has been resolved. In addition, there may be minor delays to deliveries within the United Kingdom.

The Royal Mail has not provided an estimated time frame for when the issue will be resolved. This is understandable, as the incident is still ongoing, and the company is working hard to fix it as quickly as possible. However, it is essential for customers to be aware that there may be delays to their mail and packages. The company has apologized for the inconvenience caused and urges customers to bear with them while they work to resolve the incident.

Domestic Deliveries

The Royal Mail has stated that domestic deliveries are unaffected despite the incident. Customers can expect to receive their mail and packages as usual within the United Kingdom. However, it is necessary to note that there may be delays to international deliveries. The company has advised customers not to send items overseas until the issue has been resolved.

This is a significant issue for many customers, particularly businesses that rely on the Royal Mail to send goods overseas. It also affects individuals who have family and friends living abroad and rely on the postal service to send gifts and letters. The incident has caused inconvenience for many people, and Royal Mail needs to resolve it as quickly as possible.

Possible Cause

The reason for the incident has not been confirmed by the Royal Mail. However, Brian Higgins, Security Specialist at Comparitech, suggests it may be a ransomware attack. Ransomware is a dangerous type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment for the decryption key to be released.

Ransomware attacks have commonly increased in recent years, with many organizations falling victim to them. The attackers typically demand a large sum of money, usually a cryptocurrency, in exchange for the decryption key. Many organizations are willing to pay the ransom to regain access to their files, as the alternative is often much more costly.

The company has not provided further details on the incident, stating that it is still ongoing and working to resolve it as quickly as possible. However, the Royal Mail has not confirmed whether the incident was ransomware. The cause of the incident may be something else, such as a hardware failure or a network outage.

Critical National Infrastructure

As a communication service provider, the Royal Mail is considered to be part of the Critical National Infrastructure in the United Kingdom. This means that the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) would be alerted immediately to any interruption of its operations. The NCSC is a government organization responsible for protecting the UK’s critical services from cyber threats.

The NCSC has many responsibilities, including protecting the UK’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks. This includes organizations such as the Royal Mail, which play a vital role in the country’s economy and communication networks. In the event of a cyber-incident such as this, the NCSC would be closely monitoring the situation and working with the affected organization to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

In light of this incident, it serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting critical national infrastructure from cyber threats. The Royal Mail plays a vital role in the UK’s economy and communication networks, and any interruption to its operations could have significant consequences. It is crucial for organizations such as the Royal Mail to have robust security measures in place to protect against cyber-attacks and for the NCSC to be alerted immediately in the event of an incident.

The Need for Cybersecurity Measures

The Royal Mail incident serves as a reminder of the importance of having robust cybersecurity measures in place to protect against cyber-attacks. Ransomware attacks, like the one suggested in this incident, have become increasingly common in recent years, and organizations of all sizes and industries are at risk.

It is crucial for organizations such as the Royal Mail to have a robust cybersecurity strategy in place to protect their networks and data. This includes regular security updates and patching, employee training on cybersecurity best practices, and incident response plans in case of a cyber-attack.

Furthermore, it’s vital for organizations to regularly review and update their cybersecurity measures to ensure they are keeping up with the latest threats and vulnerabilities. Working with cybersecurity experts and utilizing advanced security tools can also greatly enhance an organization’s cybersecurity defenses.

In addition, organizations should also have a backup plan in place to minimize the impact of a ransomware attack, such as having a recent backup of their data that can be restored in case of an incident.

Overall, the Royal Mail incident highlights the need for organizations to prioritize cybersecurity and take the necessary measures to protect against cyber-attacks.

Conclusion

A cyber-incident has harmed the Royal Mail, causing delays to its operations and advising customers not to send items overseas. The cause of the incident is not yet known, but it is suggested to be a ransomware attack. The incident highlights the importance of critical national infrastructure is protected against cyber threats. The NCSC closely monitors the situation, and customers can stay updated via the NCSC’s social media channels or website. Royal Mail must resolve the incident as quickly as possible to minimize the disruption to its operations and the inconvenience caused to customers. In addition, the organization must have sophisticated security measures in place to protect against cyber-attacks, which have become a common problem lately.

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Jonathan.Wood
Jonathan.Wood , CEO
InfoSec Expert
February 2, 2023 9:37 am

LockBit often targets insiders as a way of hacking systems. While we don’t know yet if this is the case for the attack on Ion Group, which caused the disruption to the City of London, we know the hacking group’s attack on Accenture in 2021 was thought to have been enabled by an insider. This could be anything from entering the supply chain through a network/API or even paying a disgruntled employee.
 
I’d advise organisations to work with their supply chain to secure endpoints and entry points, deliver cyber security training for their people, and ensure that technical measures are in place to detect and mitigate attacks. It’s also important to ensure there is resilience planning in place for critical infrastructure and data, and that any backups of software are not susceptible to compromise during a ransomware attack.

Last edited 1 hour ago by Jonathan.Wood
Keiron Holyome
Keiron Holyome
InfoSec Expert
January 19, 2023 12:07 pm

“Cybercriminals exploit confusion and uncertainty. Recent strike action at Royal Mail, paired with the bustle of the festive season, have created ideal conditions for launching cyberattacks on the organisation’s systems. When resources are tightened, it is absolutely critical that organisations focus efforts on identifying any gaps in their security posture, and apply additional cybersecurity defences, to ensure they are fit to stop incidents if they happens – whether malicious or accidental. To enable this, it is important that security teams rely on intelligent systems and processes as reinforcements.

“A recent industry report stated that cyberattacks in the UK grew by 77% in 2022 compared with 2021. As such all organisations should revisit and test their cybersecurity plans to ensure that they still provide a robust defensive posture. Using next generation tools that help automate systems and processes will be critical in the fight against cyberattacks as we do not see the scale and sophistication of attacks abating.”

Last edited 13 days ago by Keiron Holyome
Ram.Vaidyanathan
Ram.Vaidyanathan , IT Security Evangelist
InfoSec Expert
January 17, 2023 4:47 pm

“Ransomware can be truly sinister and disrupt the business operations of both small and large organizations. All it takes is one loophole anywhere in the value chain for the attacker to get initial access. To protect from ransomware, organizations should adopt the zero-trust security model. They should also deploy the most effective security analytics solutions that detect using AI and ML-powered algorithms and respond to the attack automatically.”

Last edited 15 days ago by Ram.Vaidyanathan
Dr. Darren Williams
Dr. Darren Williams , Founder and CEO
InfoSec Expert
January 16, 2023 12:13 pm

“Friday the 13th brings us the 13th publicly recorded ransomware attack of the new year, and the most significant to date. Bad luck for Royal Mail as it continues to deal with a number of other issues impacting its services.

Sources say that the notorious LockBit gang was behind the attack – this doesn’t come as a surprise to us as our annual 2022 data found that publicly disclosed attacks by this group increased a massive 600% over 2021. While we wait to see the fallout from this incident, there is little doubt that the ransom demand will be in the millions and that the data exfiltrated in the attack will find its way to the Dark Web if a ransom isn’t paid.

With any luck, this attack will serve as a wakeup call to other organisations that new tactics to prevent ransomware must be explored in 2023 to avoid becoming the next victim.”

Last edited 16 days ago by Dr. Darren Williams
Javvad Malik
Javvad Malik , Security Awareness Advocate
InfoSec Expert
January 16, 2023 12:11 pm

“Ransomware has been rife over the last few years, and so, it’s often no surprise when the cause of a cyber incident is ransomware.  While there is speculation that this could be action backed by Russia to attack an ally of Ukraine, it could very well be any criminal organisation or even opportunistic attacker.

Attacks like ransomware are usually successful due to phishing, exploiting poor passwords or unpatched software. Therefore, a layered approach of technical, procedural, and human controls are needed in order to reduce the likelihood of an attack being successful, and to be able to detect and respond quickly. 

Being part of the UK critical national infrastructure, makes this far more impactful than a ransomware attack against a smaller or less visible organisation, so all eyes will be on Royal Mail on how quickly it can recover.”

Last edited 16 days ago by Javvad Malik

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