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Property firm cyber attack leaves home movers in the lurch

Simplify Group customers were left unable to move house due to a systems outage

A cyber attack against a group of conveyancing brands has left thousands of home buyers unable to complete their purchases.

Simplify, which owns brands like Premier Property Lawyers, My Home Move, and DC Law, said parts of its business have been subjected to a security incident involving some IT systems, which appear to have gone down at the start of the week.

The company said it is working with a third-party cyber specialist to restore its systems amid an investigation. It has also taken steps to report the incident to relevant authorities.

A spokesperson for the company told IT Pro that it has now restored its IT systems sufficiently to enable clients to complete their property move.

“The good news is that almost all contracted transactions with a fixed completion date are up to date,” said the spokesperson.

Prospective home buyers took to Twitter to complain, with one customer saying that the company has yet to confirm whether data was accessed as a result of the attack. The Information Commissioner's Office has been informed of the incident, the BBC reports.

Jason Greenwood, a breakfast show DJ and producer with CVFMradio, posted on Twitter that he was supposed to move two days ago. “Life is in limbo and a back of a van, clocking up extra costs which will make me bankrupt,” he tweeted.

Greenwood added that he has completed a form as instructed by Premier Property Lawyers, but that the firm's representative was unable to offer any further help as it is unable to access its case files.

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), the property law regulator, confirmed it has been notified by the Simplify Group about the system outage, saying the group has been affected by a security incident involving some IT systems.

A message posted on the Premier Property Lawyers website on Wednesday revealed that the company had been “working round the clock” to restore operations. This included carefully bringing systems online as part of a secure phased approach and finding workarounds to complete transactions safely.

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