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Ransomware Attack on Title and Escrow Company Impacts Homeowners, Real Estate Transactions

Fidelity National Financial, a major player in real estate services such as title insurance and escrow, recently fell victim to a devastating ransomware attack, causing widespread confusion and concern among homeowners and potential buyers.

TechCrunch reports that Fidelity National Financial (FNF), known for its leading role in providing title insurance and escrow services in North America, experienced a significant cyberattack last week. This incident has left many homeowners and prospective buyers who deal with FNF or its subsidiaries in a state of uncertainty and distress.

The impact of the attack was immediately felt by customers. One homeowner in Illinois, who sold her house through IPX 1031, a FNF-owned intermediary, expressed frustration over the lack of communication and clarity regarding her transaction. TechCrunch’s attempts to reach IPX 1031 were met with an automated message acknowledging a system-wide outage, indicating the severity of the attack.

FNF’s response has been limited. Their public statements, including a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, have been vague, mentioning only that they had to block access to certain systems, causing business disruptions. Services like title insurance, escrow, mortgage transaction services, and related technology offerings have been affected.

FNF said in it’s full statement to the SEC: “We blocked access to certain of our systems, which resulted in disruptions to our business. For example, the services we provide related to title insurance, escrow and other title-related services, mortgage transaction services, and technology to the real estate and mortgage industries, have been affected by these measures.”

Christine Youmans, a customer of mortgage servicing firm and FNF subsidiary LoanCare, is facing similar challenges. Youmans told TechCrunch: “Everything is shut down and no one can pay the mortgage and you can’t get them on the phone.”

An automated message on LoanCare’s number offered little in terms of practical advice or solutions. The ransomware gang known as ALPHV, or BlackCat, has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.


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