Technology has revolutionized all sectors of the economy, and the real estate industry is no exception with the advent of free commercial real estate listings. The internet has made the world a global village, but social ills also come, one of which is the rise in cybercrime.
There needs to be a deliberate effort from players in the real estate industry to deal with all kinds of threats.
It’s important to note that there isn’t one proven method of dealing with cybercriminals. In this case, prevention is better than cure.
Why Cyber Criminals Target the Real Estate Industry
With so many other valuable sectors of the economy to target, why the real estate industry? The answer is quite simple: information.
Players in the real estate industry, including buyers and sellers, leave a trail of important financial information which they can use for identity theft and other financial crimes.
Moreover, the real estate industry is highly lucrative, and, nowadays, most financial transactions are done purely online, and cybercriminals can hack portals to gain access to credit card information and other data such as addresses.
To add insult to injury, cybercriminals continue to broaden their horizons and aren’t just concentrated on one area of real estate. They are now targeting agents, insurance agents, inspectors, and all other players within the industry.
Types of Cyber Attacks in Real Estate
Some of the most common attacks on the real estate industry include:
This type of attack usually involves using a malicious attachment to lure the targeted party to click on a link. As soon as the person clicks on the link, the cybercriminal gains access to their computing device, and from there, they can gain useful information.
They can then leverage this information to commit other types of cybercrime.
Cybercriminals use this tactic to access an organization’s network by using ransomware they send to a user through an attachment. Once it’s opened, they access the organization’s IT infrastructure.
They can use their access to demand for ransom to give up the access or steal important information.
In some cases, the purpose of a ransomware attack isn’t financial gain. Cybercriminals can use this type of attack to leak important information to the general public or sell it on the dark web.
Another successful tactic that’s used by cybercriminals. It’s done by mimicking a real estate industry and tricking potential targets into visiting it.
They can use the information they collect, including ID cards, to commit other types of crimes, including impersonation. They may also collect passwords that they can collect and use on other websites.
4. Business Email Compromise
Cybercriminals use Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks to hack corporate emails. They can imitate a person within the organization and use social engineering to gain valuable information that they can then use to target organization partners, including customers.
Other types of cybersecurity crime targeted at the real estate industry include:
- Personal identity theft and impersonation;
- Theft of real estate information, including personal documents and financial transactions;
- Transacting bogus deals by using false information obtained fraudulently;
- Defamation by accessing a business’s website and posting misleading information.
When launched in unison, cyber-attacks such as these can inflict significant damage on any organization.
How Cyber Security Keeps the Commercial Real Estate Industry Safer
Despite the many gains in preventing cyberattacks, some still end up being successful.
Here are a few ways cyber security keeps the commercial real industry safer.
Helps in Performing Cyber Security Audits
Despite how important cybersecurity audits are, most real estate organizations are still adamant about conducting them. They’re used to identify potential cyber-attacks and put the right measures to mitigate any risks.
A cybersecurity audit is best conducted by an experienced party person, most likely a third party who also provides solutions to the threats.
Moreover, they will also advise on the best ways to optimize your security protocols.
Helps in Identifying the Right Security Measures
There are many cyber security threats, and each requires its own preventative measures. However, some solutions, such as antiviruses, have been shown to prevent more than one threat.
When choosing a security solution, opt for one that integrates with your systems, tools, and processes. Otherwise, you may end up breaking your budget.
Keep’s the Real Estate Organization Abreast on Breach Notification Requirements
The cybersecurity industry is ever-changing, and as such, organization-wide notification requirements also change frequently.
Having the right cybersecurity measures helps you keep up with these changes based on your location.
Creates a Platform to Provide Cybersecurity Training
Training is key if you want to stop cybercrime in its tracks. The end-user should be aware of best practices on using the internet and computing devices in the workplace to avoid being conduits of a cyber attack.
It’s important to regularly update your training programs to ensure they comply with the requirements of the various bodies and agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC).
Setting Multi-Factor Authentication
As stated earlier, prevention is better than cure for cyber-attacks. As cybercriminals continue to change their tactics, it becomes important to control who, how, and the permissions they have.
Setting a two-factor authentication procedure when logging in, such as Google authenticator, helps keep your IT network and computing devices safe even if someone has access to your password.
Invest in Your Organization’s Cyber Security
Cybercrime is a cancer that continues to ravage all sectors of the economy, including the real estate industry. All hope is not lost, though. As real estate organizations continue to demand better security measures, it has given birth to opportunities for security experts.
Real estate buyers and sellers can rest assured that important information doesn’t land in the wrong hands by partnering with the right security partner.
A security solution is as easy as installing a comprehensive antivirus. Another simple solution is creating a strong password composed of special characters and upper and lowercase letters. You can take it a step further by setting up two-factor authentication.