Hackers successfully target online property transfer system

Published: 11/07/2018

Hackers successfully target online property transfer system

No online entity, big or small, is safe from cyber attacks and Property Exchange Australia (PEXA), the nation's new online property transfer system, is no exception.

Dani Vann, 2011 MasterChef finalist, and her husband Chris Burgess experienced significant financial loss and may be left without a place to live after cyber criminals successfully hacked into their conveyancer's online account.

A sum of $250,000 was stolen from the settlement of their recently sold Melbourne property by hackers, who illegally diverted settlement funds to a fraudster's bank account.

The hackers broke into Ms Venn's conveyancer, accessed emails from PEXA and added themselves in the PEXA system as another user.

While $138,000 was frozen and returned, $110,000 was not recoverable. It is now up to the conveyancer to recover the funds through their insurance.

With Dani and her husband no longer able to pay for the settlement of their dream property they are likely to lose their deposit, adding to the financial loss they will seek to recover from their conveyancer.

In a similar case three weeks ago, fraudsters fleeced an unsuspecting home owner in Melbourne's east of more than $1 million during the settlement period.

Unfortunately, as more businesses rely on online systems this type of scamming attack and many other forms of cyber crime are becoming common place.

The team at Coverforce urge all businesses to take the following key steps to minimise your cyber risks

  • Enable 2 Factor Authentification (2FA) on all devices and online accounts that you use
  • Perform regular data back-ups (3 sets of backups, 2 different mediums eg. hard drives/tapes), one offsite with regular testing
  • Ensure your Antivirus & Malware protection is up to date
  • Create a Cyber Security Policy and educate staff
  • Establish a process not to change client or supplier bank account details without an in person or verbal verification
  • Create a Cyber Attack Response Plan
  • Take out suitable insurance cover

To find out more about getting reliable insurance cover for your cyber risks, contact Coverforce and speak to one of our knowledgeable insurance brokers today.

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