Lew Sichelman

If your closing was postponed recently, cybercriminals may be to blame. 

In mid-July, Cloudstar, a cloud-hosting and data security provider to title and settlement firms, was one of the many companies to fall victim to a sophisticated ransomware attack that rendered its systems inaccessible. 

The company has retained the services of third-party forensics specialists Tetra Defense to assist with the recovery efforts; negotiations with the hackers were said to be ongoing.  

A company statement from a week after the attack said that Cloudstar was working “around the clock to assess the recoverability of customer data.” As of early August, Cloudstar reported that it was continuing restoration efforts, and expected that the majority of its customer data would be recovered.  

At the same time, the company warned that the process is “very complex … Due to the extensive impact that this event had on our systems, we are unable to provide a definitive ETA. We expect that this overall process will take several weeks.” 

Cloudstar operates six data centers in the United States, serving more than 42,000 users.  

Hidden Cameras for Intel 

If you felt like someone was looking over your shoulder when you visited an open house recently, you may have been right. 

About three in 10 sellers are using hidden cameras to spy on visitors – and not just to protect their belongings, according to a new survey by LendingTree. The No. 1 stated reason: to gain a better understanding of what potential buyers like and don’t like about their homes so they can make adjustments. 

Sellers also resort to spying to gather information they could use during negotiations and to find out what their agents are really saying about their houses. And unbeknownst to their own agents, some are watching to make sure they are doing their jobs. 

Using such devices may or may not be legal, depending on local laws. But it also may be counterproductive. Nearly half the buyers queried said they would back out of the deal if they discovered the seller had secretly recorded them. 

CFPB Helps Servicers 

A new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is designed to help servicers – a.k.a. companies that manage your mortgage payments – to quickly process deeply delinquent loans. That way, they can focus on borrowers who still have a chance to save their homes. 

The idea is to stem what some expect will be a flood of foreclosures. But not everyone is of that thinking, at least not entirely. Moody’s Investor Services believes that if borrowers who are delinquent or in foreclosure list their homes for sale evenly over the coming months, as opposed to dumping them on the market all at once, the result would add only a meager half-a-month’s supply to the inventory-starved market. 

Lew Sichelman has been covering real estate for more than 50 years. He is a regular contributor to numerous shelter magazines and housing and housing-finance industry publications. Readers can contact him at lsichelman@aol.com. 

Closing Delayed? Blame Hackers

by Lew Sichelman time to read: 2 min