Business

Pivotal Homes suffered a “ransomware attack” weeks before liquidation

Liquidators of under-fire building company Pivotal Homes have revealed the business was hit by a ransomware attack just weeks before it collapsed.

Liquidators of under-fire building company Pivotal Homes have revealed the business was hit by a ransomware attack just weeks before it collapsed.

The hack will mean financial information about the company will have to be pieced together using paper records.

Managing director Michael Irwin announced the organization had gone into liquidation last week, citing rising labor and construction costs as the reason it was impossible to carry on.

Staff had no warning that the business was doing badly, nor were they given any notice that they should start looking for jobs after the business made cutbacks.

Mr Irwin estimated the company has debts exceeding $3.6 million and said the “lost data” meant there were “no accurate records” of exactly how much is owed.

According to the Courier MailLiquidator Chris Cook said the attack was “legitimate” and had corrupted the company’s files.

Up to six months of records have reportedly been lost.

Mr Cook said the lost files had meant staff of Pivotal had been attempting to settle accounts manually in recent weeks, with the increased labor a likely contributor to the company’s failure.

“It was probably a case of it being the final straw,” he said.

“It was making it enormously difficult, there was an enormous amount of labor involved in working out the payments.”

Liquidator Chris Cook said staff were attempting to settle accounts manually in recent weeks leading to the company’s demise.

“It was probably a case of it being the final straw,” he said.

“It was making it enormously difficult, there was an enormous amount of labor involved in working out the payments.”

Tom Egan, the head sales manager for Pivotal Homes, said he and a dozen or so other staff members were “devastated” by the company’s sudden collapse.

“No one knew,” Mr Egan, who has worked in the construction sector for 25 years, told news.com.au.

“At 1.30pm [on Thursday] everyone was called to the boardroom. The liquidator advised that we were terminated.

“It’s devastating for everybody, you had staff there [who had been working for] up to 10 years.”

Mr Egan said he only reported to the managing director, Mr Irwin, and otherwise oversaw all operations, and saw no signs that the company was on its last legs.

Two major Australian construction companies, including Gold Coast-based Condev and industry giant Probuild have already gone into liquidation this year.

Smaller operators like Hotondo Homes Hobart and Perth firms Home Innovation Builders and New Sensation Homes, as well as Sydney-based firm Next have also collapsed, leaving homeowners out of pocket and with unfinished houses.

An industry insider told news.com.au earlier this year that half of Australia’s building companies are on the brink of collapse as they trade insolvent, and it could see thousands of people’s homes impacted in the coming months

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