Mortgage Lender Breached, 200k Exposed by LockBit’s Citrix Bleed

  • By Steven
  • Jan 31, 2024

real estate

Planet Home Lending (PHL) is a real estate and homeowner agency that assists consumers in finding and financing lasting homes. PHL has 20 locations, from California to Alabama and Spokane to New Orleans. Citrix Systems, a worldwide technology solutions provider, created one aspect of PHL’s network. In 2023, officials found Citrix to have a destructive vulnerability, which allowed cybercriminals to access the networks of Citrix clients. PHL’s breach occurred due to the Citrix event, exposing nearly 200k individuals. 

How Did the Attack Occur? 

Dubbed the “Citrix Bleed,” the vulnerability may have massive consequences; like 2023’s MOVEit event, the Citrix Bleed has the potential to impact millions long term. For PHL’s breach, unauthorized actors accessed internal networks but could not maneuver into adjacent systems. Subsequently, investigations found clear indicators of the threat actor’s activity in the environment; they accessed a read-only data folder, and while they did not “take” information, they may have copied it. Further, according to the public consumer notice, investigations point to the threat actor LockBit as the culprit. LockBit is a global ransomware threat actor and one of the parties in public connection with the Citrix Bleed event. 

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen? 

The data compromised in this event primarily belonged to loan holders, although the vent may impact other groups depending on the data saved in the environment when LockBit accessed it. According to the investigation (and the consumer notice), the compromised data may include the victims’ name, residential address, Social Security Number, loan number(s), and financial account information (potentially account numbers, payment information, or credit details). Such sensitive data in the hands of any cybercriminal gang is terrible news—victims could suffer fraud, impersonation, or extortion. 

How Did Planet Home Lending Admit to the Breach? 

Based on the public resources about the event, the attack happened around November 15th, 2023; officials claim to have discovered the attack the same day and began threat response procedures. Their policies expelled the actors from their systems and opened preliminary investigations. Almost two weeks later, around November 28th, investigations confirmed the attack and its relative scope. Since then, PHL has worked to identify potentially impacted parties. Officials began sending notifications to those impacted around January 25th, 2024.

What Will Become of the Stolen Information? 

Personal information in the hands of a stranger is problematic, but that same data in the hands of an extortionist group is nerve-racking. Victims aren’t just at risk for financial or identity fraud; they are at risk for endless re-victimization. At any time, the criminals could sell or misuse the data they’ve stolen—today, in a week, or years from now. The critical component of these potential consequences is the status of the data; since it’s out there, there’s no hiding it. Victims can only implement preventative safeguards. 

What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach? 

The compromised data from this event is difficult to secure. Most people can’t change their socials or loan numbers, but they can secure their financials. Victims can change their account credentials by altering their passwords and contact information and implementing security options like multi-factor authentications. Additionally, any accounts that share the same or similar credentials must be updated. Otherwise, criminals can potentially breach other accounts. Meanwhile, those personal aspects that cannot be easily changed or secured (i.e., names, addresses, socials) can still be protected; account monitoring services alert data owners to suspicious activity the moment it happens—helping to mitigate consequences and return to normal faster.

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