Royal Mail announced last week that it was experiencing “severe service disruption” following a cyber hack. The company stated that it was unable to dispatch export items, including letters and parcels to overseas destinations, as a result of the incident.
In a statement, the company said, “We have asked customers temporarily to stop submitting any export items into the network while we work hard to resolve the issue.” This is ongoing. They also added that international parcels that have already been dispatched may be subject to delays.
Further details about the nature of the incident and who was responsible are scarce, but it’s been reported that the company was hit by ransomware. Specifically, LockBit, a hacking group known for its attacks on businesses worldwide, has been mentioned as a possible perpetrator. Organised hacking groups are known for their use of sophisticated tactics to target organizations and disrupt their operations. In the case of the Royal Mail attack, it is not confirmed yet whether LockBit were directly involved.
According to Royal Mail’s CEO Simon Thompson, speaking to a House of Commons Select Committee on Tuesday, the company believes that no customer data was compromised in the most recent attack, but they are prepared for that situation to change and have already notified the U.K. data protection regulator as a precaution.
Mr Thompson also said that the postal service continues to experience disruption to its international export services following the cyberattack, and it’s not yet clear when this disruption is likely to end. This disruption is made worse by existing backlogs and delays that have developed from ongoing strike action. Thompson mentioned that they are working on a “workaround” to restore the service as soon as possible.
Groups like LockBit and Hive are not just a threat to large, well-known organizations like Royal Mail. In fact, smaller businesses and organizations are often targeted because they don’t have the same resources and therefore may not have the same level of security as larger companies. This makes them an attractive target for attackers looking to exploit vulnerabilities and gain access to sensitive data.
To mitigate the threat of hacking groups like LockBit, organisations of all sizes should take a proactive approach to cybersecurity. It is not something that you can afford to take lightly or leave as an afterthought. This includes implementing robust incident response plans, regularly conducting penetration testing, and staying up-to-date on the latest threats and vulnerabilities. Additionally, companies should consider working with a trusted cybersecurity partner (like OmniCyber Security) to ensure that they have the resources and expertise necessary to protect their systems and data.
How to protect your business
The incident at Royal Mail highlights the importance of incident response planning for businesses. Incidents like these can cause severe disruption to a company’s operations, leading to financial losses and damage to the company’s reputation. As you can tell from the increased media coverage of the Royal Mail incident, the bigger the organisation, the harder they fall when they are hit.
It’s crucial for companies to have a comprehensive incident response plan in place that includes procedures for detecting, containing, and recovering from a cyber attack. This includes having a designated incident response team in place and regular testing of the incident response plan to ensure readiness.
One of the key recommendations for companies to implement to prevent an attack on this scale is penetration testing. This is a simulated cyber attack that allows companies to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their systems before an actual attack occurs. By identifying and addressing these vulnerabilities, companies can improve their overall security. In an ideal world, penetration testing should not be an organisation’s main way of finding problems though. Think of a pen test like an MOT for your website, an annual check to check that everything is as it should be. You should be regularly keeping an eye out for vulnerabilities/wheels falling off all year round.
OmniCyber Security offers a range of services that can help companies to protect themselves against cyber attacks, including incident response advice, penetration testing and vulnerability scanning. We work with our clients to understand their specific needs and tailor our services to meet those requirements. Contact our expert team today to learn more about how we can help protect your business.