Conveyancers affected by a cyber attack on an IT services provider have been urged to keep all other lawyers in the chain informed.
Around 80 firms have been unable to complete transactions following a service outage affecting IT provider CTS. Dozens of clients hoping to move into their new homes this week have expressed their frustration that deals have fallen through and removal companies have had to be cancelled.
CTS last issued a public comment on Friday when it said the outage was caused by a cyber-incident and it was continuing to work ‘around the clock’ on fixing it.
The company said: ‘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.’
On Monday the Council for Licensed Conveyancers said the sector was experiencing some disruption to transactions arising from the incident.
'As well as keeping their own clients informed of any disruption to their matter in relation to such incidents, we expect any directly affected CLC-regulated practices to ensure that they have alerted lawyers acting on the other side of any relevant transactions,’ it said. ‘This openness is vital for limiting as far as possible disruption and consumer harm.’
Media relations officer Lucy Lisanti, who is part of a four-property chain whose buyer is affected by the outage, told the Gazette she felt in limbo by the ongoing uncertainty. The parties had been due to exchange last Wednesday.
Her unaffected solicitors were informed on Monday evening by the buyer’s firm that its system was still offline, but it was ‘hoping’ to be in a position to complete later this week.
‘We were due to exchange last Wednesday in the midsts of this outage and have effectively been in the dark ever since,’ said Lisanti. ‘This leaves us with so much uncertainty - with movers needing to be booked, days needing to be taken off work at potentially short notice and lives put on hold.’
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