The Top Cybersecurity Risks Facing Real Estate Professionals

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Imagine closing a lucrative real estate deal, only to find out that your hard-earned commission has been wired to a hacker's bank account. Or even worse, you expose your clients to a potentially devastating data breach. In today's digital market, cybersecurity risks are a constant threat for real estate professionals. Modern real estate professionals rely heavily on online platforms and digital tools to manage property transactions, client communication, and data management. However, this increased digital presence also brings a higher risk of cyber threats. This eye-opening article reveals the top cybersecurity risks facing you and your clients - and more importantly, how to protect against them. Don't let your dream deals turn into digital nightmares!

Understanding Key Cybersecurity Threats

From unsecured networks to malicious MITM (man-in-the-middle) attacks and intrusive data snooping, professionals are facing an excess of digital dangers that can compromise sensitive information. As scary as these terms sound, it's helpful to understand what they mean to safeguard your operations and protect your client's personal details. Let's explore these threats in more detail to uncover their risks and how to mitigate them in your everyday transactions.

Unsecured Networks: These are networks that either don't require a password or have very basic security. Imagine public Wi-Fi spots in cafes or airports. When you're connected to these, your information is exposed, ready to be picked up by prying eyes.

MITM Attacks: Picture this: a hacker positions themselves between your communication and that of your client, intercepting, altering, or even blocking messages. That's a MITM attack for you.

Data Snooping: Think of this as cyber-eavesdropping. It's when unauthorized individuals intercept and view your data, without necessarily changing it.

In the realm of real estate transactions, several scenarios can leave you exposed to hackers using unsecured networks, MITM attacks, and data snooping. Some examples include:

Wire fraud: Cybercriminals often target real estate transactions through wire fraud schemes. They impersonate a trusted party (e.g., title company, attorney, or agent) in the transaction, tricking the buyer or seller into sharing sensitive information or wiring funds to fraudulent accounts.

Email phishing: Hackers may send phishing emails to real estate professionals and their clients under the guise of legitimate businesses. Upon clicking a malicious link or downloading an infected attachment, the victim unintentionally grants the attacker access to their sensitive data.

Escrow interception: In this scenario, the hacker spies on email traffic between the buyer, seller, and escrow provider. The attacker then intercepts the escrow instructions and sends modified versions to the parties, directing them to wire funds into the hacker's account.

Malware attacks: Cybercriminals could exploit unsecured networks and target both real estate agents and their clients with malware. They may steal login credentials, passwords, or other sensitive information, subsequently compromising the integrity of a transaction.

Remember, it's essential to safeguard all your communication channels and ensure your clients' private information remains secure. Partnering with a comprehensive cybersecurity solution like Lockwell can help mitigate these risks.

Defend Yourself Against Unsecured Networks

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN): By activating a VPN, you cloak your data in a layer of encryption, rendering it unreadable to potential intruders. Always pick a reputable VPN provider and switch it on whenever you're on an unsecured network.

Deactivate Sharing: Disable sharing options on your device when you're on public networks. No file or printer sharing – it's a safety precaution.

Disconnect After Use: Make it a habit to never let your devices auto-connect to open Wi-Fi networks. After using one, choose the "forget" option.

Protect Yourself from MITM Attacks

Update, Update, Update: Regularly updating your software and apps means you’re shielding yourself from vulnerabilities hackers might exploit.

Steer Clear of Suspicious Networks: Never connect to Wi-Fi networks that feel off, even if they look genuine. Malicious actors often create fake hotspots to trap unsuspecting users.

Guard Against Data Snooping

Fortify Your Devices: Set robust, distinct passcodes for all your devices. Biometric features like fingerprint or facial recognition can also be handy.

Stay Informed: Always be on the lookout for phishing scams and keep yourself updated about the latest cybersecurity trends.

Easing Your Cybersecurity Worries with Lockwell

Lockwell provides a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that directly addresses the threats faced by real estate professionals, making it a must-have tool for anyone in the industry. Here's how Lockwell can help you stay protected:

Account Security: Password Vault 

Lockwell's end-to-end encrypted password vault securely stores your work accounts and sensitive company data. You can import or manually add accounts, protect them with 2FA, share them with team members, and make use of custom fields. 

Device Security: Anti-Malware 

Lockwell's next-gen Anti-Malware guards your devices from ransomware, viruses, and other malware by identifying and neutralizing potential threats. It provides real-time protection, such as blocking malicious files from being downloaded and encourages users to scan their hard drives weekly.

Network Security: VPN 

Lockwell's VPN encrypts your network traffic and provides secure remote access to sensitive company data to protect against unsecured networks, MITM attacks, and data snooping. 

Threat Intelligence: Breached Account Monitoring 

Lockwell monitors the dark web 24/7 for compromised credentials. It scans for breaches based on the user's email and alerts the users to these breaches via security issues on the dashboard and the breaches page.

Automated Protection: Security Issues 

Lockwell proactively monitors your password vault accounts, network, and devices for vulnerabilities. If any are found, it immediately notifies you and assists in resolving them. Unresolved issues will lower your security score and grade, encouraging you to address them promptly.

With Lockwell's powerful suite of cybersecurity tools, real estate professionals can confidently guard against the ever-evolving landscape of digital threats. By integrating Lockwell into your daily operations, you'll not only protect your own online safety but also ensure your clients' digital data remains secure and private.

Wrapping Up

Your role in the real estate industry comes with the responsibility to protect not only your client's interests in properties but also their digital data. In the ever-changing world of digital threats, no cybersecurity service can claim to offer 100% protection. However, Lockwell’s commitment is to minimize risks by providing the best defense at optimum value.

Equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to stay safe in cyberspace, ensuring you build and nurture trust every step of the way.