Major Title Company Hamstrung By Weeklong Cyberattack
Hackers targeted a major title company in a cyberattack, stunting its operations for at least a week and delaying a number of Chicago-area real estate deals.
The hack of Florida-based Fidelity National Financial, the parent company of Chicago Title and others, led to setbacks in real estate deals that ranged from half-hour delays to open-ended delays, Crain’s Chicago Business reports. It is unclear if the company is fully operational and recovered from the attack, but it failed to reach its initial expectation of resolving the issues by Sunday, according to The Real Deal.
Some users were reporting the system was back online as of Wednesday.
Seems like they are back live today (as of this morning)— SFR (@scottautenreith) November 29, 2023
Florida-based Fidelity National Financial couldn't be reached for comment by publication time.
The company filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week notifying the government entity of a Nov. 19 cyberattack, writing that Fidelity National Financial blocked access to certain systems as a result, which led to business disruptions. This included its services related to title insurance, escrow, mortgage transactions and other technology serving the real estate and mortgage industries.
Fidelity National Financial wrote in the report that its ongoing investigation revealed that an “unauthorized third party accessed certain FNF systems and acquired certain credentials,” but the company didn't outline the specifics of the breach.
Ransomware group AlphV/Black Cat allegedly claimed credit for the cyberattack, according to HousingWire.
Kathy Nosek, managing broker at 4C Realty in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, told Crain’s her client’s Nov. 22 closing through Fidelity took “about an hour and a half longer than what you would expect,” which wasn’t a major issue. With a closing scheduled for Friday, Nosek’s primary concern is whether the delays at Fidelity will continue, potentially jamming up the pipeline, she told Crain’s.
“We don’t want to have a buyer who has a moving truck sitting out front and they can’t get keys until (the purchase) is funded,” Nosek told Crain’s. “That would bring everything to a screeching halt.”