Cyber incident at Royal Mail: company asks to delay parcels abroad

Security incident caused service disturbance

Cyber incident at Royal Mail: company asks to delay parcels abroad

International deliveries at Royal Mail are temporarily halted after what was described by the company as a “Cyber incident.” In the official press release post, it claims that people should postpone letters or parcels to overseas destinations due to the severe disturbance in these services:

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.

Royal Mail also added that items that had already been dispatched abroad might suffer from delays (up to two days) and asked customers to be patient, all meanwhile apologizing for all the inconvenience that this incident might have caused. The company said they are “working around the clock to resolve this disruption.”

Royal Mail is the official postal service provider of the United Kingdom, and it has been in operation for over 500 years. The company offers a wide range of services, including domestic and international parcel delivery, letters and postcards, bank transfers, and even passport applications. The company has an extensive network of post offices and collection points throughout the country, making it easy to send and receive packages quickly and securely.

Domestic operations remain unaffected

While Royal Mail told customers to withhold parcels abroad, the remaining inland service seems to be largely unaffected by the cybersecurity issue, albeit the company warns that in some cases, delays are to be expected as well. Import services also seem to be expecting minor delays.

Automated systems related to international shipments have been greatly disrupted, which is used by Royal Mail to prepare international mail for send-off and trace items sent abroad. An incident has impacted the effectiveness of Royal Mail's massive Heathrow distribution center in Slough, which is just one of six sites currently equipped with this technology.

Although international parcel deliveries make up only a small percentage of the company's total operations, they are still essential to many UK online retailers. The company experienced a 7.9% decrease in international parcel revenue this year, earning £779m compared to the previous year's total of £1bn.[1]

The nature of the incident was not revealed

Royal Mail refused to disclose the details of the cyber incident, however, they acknowledged that external advisors had been appointed to aid in their investigation and all pertinent regulatory entities had been notified.

According to BBC, it has been labeled as a “Cyber incident” rather than a “Cyber attack” because the root cause of it remains largely unknown until further investigation is conducted and more details emerge.[2]

The company has notified the National Cyber Security Centre, a government agency responsible for safeguarding UK organizations from cybercrime, and the National Crime Agency, which combats serious and organized crime.

Royal Mail is being extremely vague about what is truly happening within its centers. Because National Crime Agency was contacted, there are all sorts of speculations about this – the issue could be particularly serious.

National Cyber Security Centre issued a statement on its official website, which claimed:[3]

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.

Royal Mail has dealt with a steady stream of predicaments over the past year, including numerous strikes led by postal workers in protest of their low wages and inadequate working conditions. In November 2022, an outage resulted in parcel tracking services not being available to customers for over 24 hours.

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Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

Jake Doevan is one of News Editors for He graduated from the Washington and Jefferson College , Communication and Journalism studies.

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