Major title company Fidelity bounces back from hacker attack 

Ransomware group claimed targeting nation’s largest title insurer

Fidelity Recovering from Cybersecurity Incident
Fidelity National Financial's Mike Nolan (Getty, Fidelity National Financial)

The nation’s largest title insurer is recovering from what it called a “cybersecurity incident”, but the specifics of and damage done by what appears to be an attack remain unclear.

The Jacksonville-based company notified investors about the issue on Nov. 19, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Fidelity reported by Inman, and contained it exactly a week later.

FNF said the incident impacted systems, but has not detailed further. The company said it had to block access to certain systems to contain the incident, resulting in disruptions to the company’s title insurance, escrow and mortgage transaction services.

The impact on customers remains unclear, as the company has only said it was coordinating with them as normal business operations resume. Outside of the core services, FNF also provides technology to real estate and mortgage companies and facilitates mortgage loans, mortgage loan subservicing and 1031 exchanges through various subsidiaries.

Speculation online has suggested FNF was attacked by a ransomware group. ALPHV has claimed responsibility for a cyberattack on FNF, according to The Register. If FNF was subject to such an attack, it may have paid ransom to recover its systems, but it’s unclear if FNF did so.

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The company has not responded to requests for comment from Inman and other media outlets. FNF is the nation’s largest title insurer, responsible for 31 percent of the country’s title business in 2020.

The FNF incident did affect home sales in the Chicago area. Real estate agents and attorneys reported delays of varying lengths in closing deals due to the cybersecurity incident. 

Cyberattacks are emerging as a more regular threat to the real estate industry. Last month, mortgage lender Mr. Cooper shut down several systems that left customers unable to make mortgage and loan payments. The company was sued following the attack, which left customer information compromised, according to HousingWire.

Holden Walter-Warner

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