Legal Tech Service Cyber Attack Puts Home Sales Into Turmoil
CTS, a key managed IT service provider for law firms, has fallen victim to a cyberattack. The incident has triggered a widespread outage, causing disruption to numerous law firms and impacting conveyancing transactions, leaving legal professionals and homebuyers in a state of uncertainty.
CTS confirmed the cyber incident that led to the outage, potentially affecting hundreds of UK law firms. The company is actively collaborating with a global cyber forensics firm to urgently investigate the incident, focusing on promptly restoring services. However, CTS is currently unable to provide a specific timeline for full-service restoration.
While the details of the cyber incident remain undisclosed, initial indications point towards a ransomware attack. CTS is diligently working to restore online services, maintain direct communication with affected clients, and provide regular updates.
The tangible consequences of the outage are evident in reports of disruptions to property transactions throughout the week. Buyers, solicitors, and law firms have expressed frustration on social media platforms due to limited information and the unexpected duration of the problems.
A primary issue is that the coordination of fund transfers between solicitors is crucial on completion days. The current outage, resulting in a failure to complete transactions, is considered a breach of contract. This has prompted affected law firms to seek alternative solutions for urgent client matters.
O'Neil Patient, a client of CTS, highlighted the widespread impact on various organizations within the legal sector. Patient assured that, at present, there is no evidence of compromised data. However, systems will remain offline until safety assurances are obtained.
Speculation has arisen regarding the nature of the cyber incident, with reports suggesting potential exploitation of the CitrixBleed vulnerability. This vulnerability allows attackers to gain initial access to an organization's infrastructure, where they could easily bring down its services, exfiltrate data, or deploy ransomware.
The UK's National Cyber Security Centre has also previously cautioned about the heightened attack surface associated with using managed service providers like CTS, emphasizing their attractiveness as targets for cyber attackers.