If you are planning on closing on a home today, that may be difficult as a result of the latest ransomware attack. Its victim: Cloudstar, one of the title industry’s primary cloud providers.

The company also provides services to real estate, legal, insurance, financial services, petrochemical and oil and gas industries.

Here’s What Happened

On July 16, Cloudstar discovered it was the victim of a highly sophisticated ransomware attack, according to a notice on the Cloudstar website. Due to the nature of this attack, the company’s systems are currently inaccessible. Cloudstar does not have a definitive restoration timeline.

That’s about all we know so far. Cloudstar officials said they have retained third-party forensics experts Tetra Defense to assist in their recovery efforts and negotiations with the threat actor are ongoing.

Title industry publication, The Title Report reported the attack and subsequent blockage of Cloudstar’s system might create a national emergency because the company provides technology for hundreds of title companies and lenders.

Ransomware Attacks On the Rise

Ransomware attacks in the United States more than doubled from 2019 to 2020.

Some Ransomware attacks happen when hackers find a vulnerability in a company’s software and use that to get into their system. But most use relatively unsophisticated methods to break into computers, such as sending phishing emails that trick employees into opening an attachment or clicking on a link that downloads malicious software, which goes on to encrypt files and bar access to the whole network.

Ransomware criminals infiltrate networks with malware that cripples companies by scrambling all their data. Victims only get a decoder key when they pay up.  The costs of such attacks add up. Some experts conservatively estimate that hackers received $412 million in ransom payments last year.