UK Shipping Company Yodel Left Scrambling by ‘Cyber ​​Incident’

UK delivery company Yodel Delivery Network Ltd. is scrambling to restore its computer networks after a “cyber incident” left shipments of clothes, wine and other items in limbo, forcing retailers to field customer complaints on delayed goods.

Liverpool-based Yodel, one of the UK’s largest shipping companies, gave no detail on the nature of the incident. The company didn’t answer questions on whether the disruption stemmed from a cyberattack such as ransomware.

The company, which disclosed the breakdown on Tuesday, has made “significant progress” in restoring its systems following the incident, a spokesman said. Tracking services are back online, the company said, warning, however, that some delivery information remains unavailable and backlogs may continue.

“We continue to monitor the tracking systems and expect to see further improvements as we return to normal,” the spokesman said on Thursday. “Yodel is sincerely sorry for any disruption and inconvenience that may have been caused to clients and customers alike.”

Yodel operates across more than 50 sites in the UK, according to its website, delivering millions of parcels a week for more than 7,000 customers spanning economic sectors. The interruption to its systems — and its deliveries — has radiated outward to create headaches for its many customers.

Commenting via social media, consumers have reported dayslong delivery delays, unavailable customer-service hotlines and inaccessible shipping numbers, necessary to pick up parcels at delivery hubs.

After a Twitter user on Tuesday threatened to cancel their subscription to Naked Wines PLC over a delayed shipment, the online vendor responded that Yodel does all its deliveries.

“Please rest assured we’re working very hard around the clock with Yodel to get the current issues rectified, and get your wines out on the road as soon as possible,” Naked Wines tweeted back. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

An Argos outlet in north London. Because it uses a number of delivery companies, a spokeswoman said, the chain was less affected by the Yodel disruption.


Photo:

Dinendra Haria / Zuma Press

Other retailers have similarly wrangled social-media complaints. Companies that use an array of delivery providers, such as clothing retailer Tu and electronics and furniture store Argos, said they were more insulated from the network problems.

“Yodel only supports a small proportion of Argos and Tu clothing deliveries, so we have been able to minimize disruption for customers,” said a spokeswoman for supermarket chain J Sainsbury PLC, which owns the companies.

Very, an online clothes retailer, warned in a note to customers that a “small number” of them might see delays if their deliveries depended on Yodel.

“We want to reassure you that we don’t provide customer payment or password information to our delivery partners,” said Very, which didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Yodel said on its website that it doesn’t hold or process that kind of data, but warned customers of possible phishing emails and social-engineering attacks by individuals pretending to be Yodel employees.

Men’s shirts from Very. The company said a ‘small number’ of its shipments might be delayed by the disruption at Yodel.


Photo:

Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg News

“Our investigation, supported by third-party experts, is ongoing and we will provide an update as soon as we are able,” the company said.

The Yodel incident follows a series of hacks of logistics and transportation firms in recent months that have exacerbated supply-chain problems and left cyber experts again urging companies to harden their digital defenses.

In May of last year, a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline Co. disrupted the East Coast’s largest fuel conduit for six days, leading some consumers to stockpile gasoline. A February cyberattack on Seattle-based logistics giant Expeditors International of Washington Inc.

forced the company to shut down many of its systems for about three weeks, according to a regulatory filing last month.

The freight company, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, said in a May 20 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was still dealing with the residual effects of the attack.

“The process was not as simple as‘ flipping a light switch ’,” Expeditors said.

Write to David Uberti at [email protected]

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