I don’t know of any other industry that works harder than Real Estate to build a business.
Working 7 days a week, having to answer every call, even on weekends or late at night, sacrificing precious time with family – why are you leaving your business open to cyber attack like an open house?
Are you protecting your most important piece of Real Estate from cyber attack, that within minutes could decimate everything you have worked so hard to build?
WHY ARE REAL ESTATE BUSINESSES A TARGET?
Real estate agents hold a considerable amount of confidential, personally identifiable information such as names, birth dates, addresses, passport or driver’s licence details, bank account and credit/debit card numbers, as well as credit reports in some circumstances, which is precisely the kind of information that cyber criminals are looking for, and is the exact reason they are targets of hacking, phishing, malware and ransomware attacks.
CHANGES THAT ARE MAKING REAL ESTATE BUSINESSES MORE VULNERABLE.
Gallagher Insurance brokers reported in November 2018 that Australia’s transition to an electronic system of exchanging property and the rise in cyber criminals targeting residential property transactions means that the Australian real estate sector may be facing a cyber security crisis.
Australia has begun the shift from the 150-year-old paper-based Torrens Title System of exchanging property to electronic certificates. The electronic exchange of property became mandatory in VIC in October 2018, and in NSW in July 2019.
However, recent high-profile breaches of the national Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) security protocols have highlighted the threat sophisticated cyber criminals bring to buyers and conveyancers.
Fairfax media reported in June 2018 that cyber criminals have been able to set up new user accounts in the PEXA system after first hacking conveyancing firms’ emails and then intercepting notification emails from PEXA. These ‘ghost users’ can then alter bank details during settlement to misappropriate funds from home owners.
The daily cyber threat to real estate agents is also on the up, according to business technology news website ZDS, who cite that cyber criminals are increasingly targeting residential property transactions by hacking into agents’ email accounts and providing altered bank account details to allocate funds to fraudulent accounts.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF REAL ESTATE FROM CYBER ATTACK
Hacking, phishing, business email compromise, fake invoices and ransomware are just a handful of ways that cyber criminals will be targeting your business this year.
To be prepared you MUST understand that the buck stops with you, the Real Estate owner, to take responsibility for protecting what you have built, the precious data of your employees and clients and invest in building a Cyber Defence Plan. The war on Cyber Crime is NOT going away.
In the case study below, a high-profile Melbourne based franchise Real estate Agency only acted “after” the attack and now has a FULL Training program in place for staff.
Why? Because uneducated, untrained staff are the reason that many of the cyber attacks happen in the first place.
There is no point if only you are aware and educated, then you leave the door open for attack by a staff member who is ignorant and click on the fatal email that starts the chain of events of destruction.