Conveyancers in Australia Protest PEXA

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Property Exchange Australia, also known as PEXA, has gotten into hot water recently due to a hack in their system. This incident has harmed digital trust among Australians.


PEXA is an electronic system in which homeowners and homebuyers in Australia can buy or sell their homes online.

It is owned by the Australian government and the banks and is used to exchange and settle titles. PEXA is supposed to be a compulsory aspect of selling and trading a title as of October of this year.

These hacks have wrecked havoc, as in at least 2 different occasions in the past week, over 1.25 million dollars was stolen from vendors. Officials believe that these two hacks were unrelated to each other.

PEXA has been attacked on all sides because of this. The Law Institutes of Victoria has said that the security measures were “not sufficiently robust on the eve of its launch as a compulsory system” and even the Australian Institute of Conveyancers’ has called the hacks and lack of proper security measures “disturbing.”

“The system should have tighter security measures in place to ensure that funds are going to the right account.” Said property law specialist Simon Libbis. “Otherwise there is a real risk in using it. Improved security procedures are needed to stop potential cyber hacking of property transactions.” (Law Institute Victoria, 2018) Theresa Elhage from Argent Law confirmed that “Incidents such as these make Practitioners reluctant to use electronic systems for conveyancing and property transactions, particularly as it exposes them to potential trust accounting breaches“



A Victim of Theft

One of the people that were affected by the hack is MasterChef finalist Dani Venn as well as her husband Chris Burgess. They might lose their home after a hacker broke in and stole 250,000$ from her account. Her bank was able to freeze and return 138,000$ of her funds but was not able to get it all.

“The industry has been assured repeatedly by PEXA that the platform is safe and secure. These fraud incidents have only been possible because of significant security vulnerabilities,” said AIC’s Victorian branches Chief Executive Jill Ludwell (Johanson, 2018).

This has caused many property law experts to question whether or not PEXA should be mandatory. Due to the vulnerabilities in the system, several people wonder if it is trustworthy and safe enough to add their funds into it (Sadler, 2018).


PEXA’s Response

PEXA’s acting chief executive James Ruddock said that the company is going to start monitoring accounts more often for unusual and fraudulent activities. They also said that they are going to be changing the way that new users are added into the system, so this kind of activity does not happen again in the future.

“No new instances of this fraud have been found and these continue to be isolated incidents,” said Mr. Ruddock. “It’s important to note that funds cannot be misdirected unless the practitioner physically signs off on the fraudulent account details using their bespoke digital certificate and accompanying password,” (Johanson, 2018). Jeremy Cox, NSW Registrar General, also stated “You should always check the details you’re signing off on prior to applying your digital certificate and password.”

However, many people are not bought, and many others are more skeptical of the land title system, which is set to be privatized soon. It will be good to know what further precautions are going to be set forward to help ensure that these hacking do not happen in the future.


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About the company

Argent Law is a boutique law firm based in Richmond, that is focused on providing efficient and cost-effective services to our clients. Our aim is to resolve disputes in a non-litigious manner and encourage a collaborative law approach.