Cyber-attack halts home sales 

IT firm CTS, which provides services to law firms, was hit by the cyber-attack last week and many home completions now face frustrating delays. 

‘In a growing and increasingly hostile digital landscape, having the capability to rapidly detect and respond to threats has become imperative,’ says the website of CTS, a managed service provider (MSP) specialising in the legal sector. It goes on to say that some ‘60% of UK law firms have experienced a cyber-attack in the last year’ and ‘effective information security now relies on the ability to address issues before they become problematic.’ 

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It’s a sad irony, then, that the firm has itself been the target of a sophisticated cyber-attack in the past week, which has in turn impacted some 80 law firms. One consequence has been to halt completions on a number of property sales. 

The impact is wide-reaching because it’s not just those firms using CTS services that are affected. For example, the Law Society Gazette cites a four-property chain that was due to complete last Wednesday. The lawyers representing the buyer were directly affected by the cyber-attack, but that has halted the sale for everyone involved. That then impacts booking movers, taking time off work and all the other things related to moving house. That all equals more time and money and stress.

Moving can be stressful enough at the best of times. 

CTS last provided an update on Friday. ‘We are experiencing a service outage which has impacted a portion of the services we deliver to some of our clients,’ it said. ‘The outage was caused by a cyber-incident. We are working closely with a leading global cyber forensics firm to help us with an urgent investigation into the incident and to assist us in service restoration. 

‘We continue to work around the clock with the assistance of third-party experts. Whilst we are confident that we will be able to restore services, we are unable to give a precise timeline for full restoration. We will continue to communicate directly with those of our clients which are impacted by the service outage, providing regular updates on the status of our work to restore services and our investigations into the incident.’ 

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), which regulates property law, has confirmed disruption to some transactions, and where this occurs the affected legal firms must ensure they alert lawyers acting on the other side. ‘This openness is vital for limiting as far as possible disruption and consumer harm,’ said a spokesperson. 

In related news:

Ransomware group admits British Library cyberattack 

Sophisticated, long-term cyber-attack on Electoral Commission

More councils investigate Capita data breach


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