The Royal Mail’s recent ransomware attack

01 Feb 2023

The Royal Mail’s recent ransomware attack

Ransomware attacks continue to be a significant threat for businesses worldwide. Last week, the BBC reported that there was severe disruption to the Royal Mail’s  overseas deliveries due to a ransomware cyber attack caused by Russian criminals. The attack caused a significant impact to computer systems used by the Royal Mail to dispatch deliveries internationally. Ransomware attacks happen on a daily basis and are a global threat to all businesses and organisations across the globe. Yet, the attack on the Royal Mail is even more significant because it is an organisation that is critical to the national infrastructure of the UK and its economy.

Back in Spring 2022, following the initial outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war, RFA shared an article detailing why the conflict would lead to increased risk of cybercrime and that cyber warfare was only in its infancy. Whilst in physical combat there is an obvious front line, there is also an online front that both countries and organisations need to be able to grapple with and strategize for in order to best defend their assets. The war directly evidences how cyberattacks are often events driven and how geopolitical tensions can directly impact the level of risk companies face when it comes to the security of their IT. For companies that have not invested in their cybersecurity, the war is a constant reminder of the inherent need and importance of a robust defence strategy.

The danger involved with ransomware attacks include hackers seizing control of data and demanding payment for its return. Such ransoms can be incredibly costly and can put companies at risk of financial jeopardy. In IBM’s latest data breach report, ‘average cost of a ransomware breach in 2022 was $4.54 million’. However, the ransomware payment itself usually represents only 15% of the total cost of an attack. It is not just the sum of money that a company has to pay, there are also other factors to play such as ransomware recovery, reputational damage, costs of downtime and any new investments in cybersecurity implementation.

In the current climate and beyond, ransomware attacks will continue to be a daily threat and increase in their level of sophistication.The Royal Mail’s recent ransomware attack shines a light on the critical significance of their occurrence and the importance for businesses globally to outsource the management of their cybersecurity to specialist firms. Businesses need to mitigate this threat by knitting together geopolitical risk, physical security and cybersecurity in a holistic manner.

The challenge regarding ransomware attacks is that they are hard to prepare for. In terms of infrastructure, businesses need to ensure that their own procedures and policies are up to date. In order to best prepare for ransomware attacks, companies should embrace the rationale of ‘it is no longer a question of if an attack happens, but when’. The response time to such an attack is critical because it will limit the overall long term damage caused to a business.

At RFA, we are specialists in cybersecurity and helping companies create strategies to protect their businesses from such attacks. We not only help our clients to strengthen their overall risk posture in terms of the security of their computer systems and data, we also deliver mitigation plans so they can quickly and efficiently respond in the event of an attack. If you could like to learn more about how RFA can help you with your cybersecurity and mitigation strategy, contact us today. Please get in touch if I can answer any questions for you.

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