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Criminal probe into UK conveyancing disruption

19 Nov 2021 / technology Print

Criminal probe into UK conveyancing disruption

A “security incident” that caused a major IT systems outage affecting some of the largest conveyancing firms in the UK is the subject of a criminal investigation, according to the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales.

Premier Property Lawyers, JS Law, DC Law and Advantage Property Lawyers, which are part of the Simplify group, were the subject of a security incident late on 7 November, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), a specialist regulator, said earlier this week.

Asked if the incident was a denial-of-service attack, Simplify told the Gazette: “Our initial investigations have confirmed that some IT systems were subject of a security incident.

“This is now the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, so it would not be appropriate to comment further regarding the type of incident.”

Restoration of systems

Simplify said that it took steps to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office, and other relevant authorities, at the earliest opportunity.

According to CLC, Simplify cannot confirm when systems will be restored to a degree that would support a return to business as usual.

Asked if Simplify had hired a specialist contractor to help restore IT systems, Simplify told the Gazette: “We are working with a team of specialist and highly experienced teams, but it would not be appropriate to share their details.”

Back-ups being used

Simplify said that details of its IT infrastructure were sensitive, and it was unable to share more information for security reasons, “but we are using back-ups where we can, to safely restore those IT systems involved”.

An update on Simplify’s website states that Cook Taylor Woodhouse, which is also part of the Simplify group, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and operates on separate IT systems that were unaffected by the incident.

Simplify told the Gazette that Cook Taylor Woodhouse had retained its own separate systems after its acquisition by Simplify.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland