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Christopher Hoffer's Blog

5 Cyber Security Issues Title Agents Should Be Aware of
by Christopher Hoffer | 2019/06/07 |

 

Cyber security failure is a potential risk all businesses face, but one that is especially important for the real estate business. As a title agent, you should be aware of some of the top security threats posed, and what they mean for you.

Christopher Hoffer's Blog ::

Email Fraud

One of the biggest issues popping up is with email - spoofing (phishing) and business emails being compromised. This is when criminals act as business partners and convince you to wire funds to their own bank accounts. It could also mean a criminal posing as you, the title agent, and getting your client to wire funds to them. They could be asking for other information that could help them get the funds into their account.

Ransomware

One type of ransomware issue deals with the operational systems. Hackers get into the systems where information is stored and are able to hide the data in those systems, meaning you don’t have access to it anymore. They will hold that info for ransom until they get paid for the data.

Another type of ransomware problem deals with the physical systems you work on. Hackers are able to get into any internet-enabled device, such as a laptop or cellphone, and control or even crash them. While this may not mean the end of the world for you, it definitely sets you back.


Malware

Other types of malware are able to hack into the business’s data to steal information. This could include important client information like bank account access, identity information, as well as your information. Malware can be sent via a spoof email, through fake or untrustworthy software posing as something else, or installed through a hacker.


Additionally, a business that uses cloud-based systems to store info can also be at risk. Storing information in the cloud can protect you if someone tries to hack your systems directly, but if the hacker attacks the cloud storage provider, you’re in trouble.


How Do You Protect Yourselves From These Attacks?

Though it seems like there is no escaping the threat of a cyber attack, there are precautions you and your company can take to prevent loss from a security breach.

  • Keeping passwords protected and hard to decipher is most important for your real estate business. Make sure your company has secure passwords that are reset after a certain amount of time. Secure passwords are ones that are not reused, include more than 10+ letters, numbers, and symbols. Never save your password unprotected on a computer or phone—if need be, write it down and keep it in a safe place at your desk.

  • Training those in the company to recognize potentially malicious emails, whether it’s trying to get information or transfer funds to a different location, is the first, important step.

  • Backing up your computer/data is another way to save information in the event of a cyber breach—if you have the data backed up on a separate drive, there’s less of a need to pay ransom for it, and will be relatively easy to restore.

  • Put policies into place for your business clients as well, like: requiring 2-step authentication, never emailing about wiring instructions, and investing in security from third-party companies.

  • Should you suspect or actually have a security breach: tell your clients immediately and inform them you have a plan of action ready to fix the issue. The trust you garner with your clients can easily be taken away if situations like this are not addressed appropriately. Think about it in their shoes, and let that guide you in how you’d want to hear a response. You may lose money now, but don’t lose future funds by not being upfront and honest to your customers.


There’s a saying that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and that’s especially true when it comes to cyber security. There are more cyber security issues to keep up with in today’s digital age, which can mean trouble for businesses everywhere. In the real estate business, it is especially vital to keep updated on the potential threats you may face, as they directly harm your clients as well.





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