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Royal Mail international services hit by cyber attack causing “severe service disruption”

Royal Mail

Royal Mail are temporarily unable to despatch items to overseas destinations following a cyber incident.

The postal giant issued a statement on Wednesday 11 January, explaining on its website that there had been an “international incident”. Royal Mail asked customers to “hold any export mail items” while it works to resolve the issue.

The company added any items which have already been dispatched are likely to be subject to delays, and apologised for such disruption. Royal Mail has not said when the issue will be resolved.

Its import operations continue to run, with some minor delays. While, Royal Mail’s Parcelforce Worldwide brand can still operate its export services to all international destinations, though customers are being warned to expect delays of up to two days.

Royal Mail has launched an investigation with external experts and had reported it to regulators and security authorities.

The Information Commissioner’s Office added that it will be making enquiries, while the National Cyber Security Centre said it was working with Royal Mail alongside the National Crime Agency to “fully understand the impact”.

While, international parcel deliveries account for a small proportion of Royal Mail’s operations, the service disruption is likely to impact many UK-based online retailers. The company delivered 152 million international parcels in the year to March 2022, amounting to one-tenth of total parcel volumes, according to the most recent accounts.

Furthermore, international parcels earned Royal Mail £779m in revenue for the year, although that was a fall from the £1bn brought in during 2021.

This latest disruption follows months of industrial action and resulting delays for Royal Mail’s UK services. Earlier this month a former boss of Royal Mail, Rico Back called the handling of recent strikes “toxic” and accused the board of wasting time.

There are currently no dates issued for further industrial action, with Royal Mail issuing its “best and final offer” in December 2022.

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