Property buyers and sellers entrust a torrent of personal and financial details to their real estate agents. If such sensitive information falls into the wrong hands, it can be misused and can cause significant loss to the affected party. Such incidents also harm the brand reputation of businesses. It is, therefore, the responsibility of real estate agencies to keep their clients’ and their own business information secure by deploying suitable cybersecurity measures.
As their work processes and payment systems get increasingly digitalised, the realty agency business has become low-hanging fruit for cybercriminals. The players in this sector routinely conduct high-value monetary transactions, which puts them on hackers’ radars.
The cyber threats targeting the real estate industry are not focused on any single area or stakeholder. Criminals have widened their net to dupe real estate agents, buyers, and sellers in a variety of ways that include (but are not limited to):
- Personal identity and financial details’ theft
- Theft of confidential business information – such as property documents and details of a deal
- Defrauding money from buyers by selling property with bogus documents
- Ransomware – extorting money from victims by freezing data access
- Defaming a business or individual by taking over their website and posting misleading or embarrassing content
The reason why cybercriminals target so many real estate agencies (and eventually their customers) is that these businesses often forget to implement effective safeguards on their devices and data. Most of the information they store flows freely between different people and stays ripe to be picked by hackers.
Tools and tactics used to harm the realty trade
From malware, viruses, and phishing to elaborate social engineering schemes, hackers use various tricks and mechanisms to con real estate agencies and the entities that deal with them. The most common tool is malicious software or malware installed on a device without the user’s knowledge or consent. It may be in the form of spyware, adware, Trojan horses, keyloggers, tracking cookies or other infected files.
Email spoofing or business email compromise (BEC) is another commonly used tactic to deceive parties in a real estate transaction. It involves sending an email from a fake account, making it appear like a legitimate communication from an actual business email ID. Cybercriminals spoof email addresses to send malicious attachments, links for compromised landing pages, or simply to convince recipients to divulge their personal information and make payments.
Pharming is another threat that harms the interests of the real estate industry. It refers to building a fake replica of a legitimate business website and tricking users into visiting it. The tactic enables fraudsters to obtain victims’ user IDs and passwords and then misuse them on genuine websites. Phishing, a similar technique, is also used to steal confidential details through spoofed email IDs and websites. Besides desktop computers, the widespread use of smartphones and tablets in the real estate business has also made these mobile devices prime targets for cyberattacks
Safeguarding your realty business and clients’ interests with cybersecurity measures
In India, real estate agencies have mushroomed not only in metropolitan cities (where they serve both commercial and residential clients) but also across Tier 2 and 3 cities. While they build a running business based on locally garnered contacts and discreet communication skills, these real estate agents overlook the need for defending their IT systems until a major breach damages their trade.
Tata Tele Business Services supports small and medium enterprises in their digitalisation journey with
affordable and easy-to-deploy enterprise-grade IT systems.
Our custom solutions that help your real estate brand stay fortified against cybercrime comprise:
Emails are the most common carriers bringing threats into your digital environment, and TTBS’ Email Security is a simple way to block all of them.
The solution safeguards accounts configured on local on-premises servers as also those underpinned by Microsoft Exchange, Office 365 and other popular platforms. It leverages FirstWave Cloud Technology’s ESPTM email software technology, Cisco-based ESA/IronPort, and AMP technologies.
With the unique features of Email Security, you can defend your communication against multiple threats and prevent bad actors from accessing confidential business information. It also automates the elimination of spam emails.
The TTBS Email Security protects users from advanced threats such as spear phishing, whaling, typo domain, and spoofing attacks. It is quick to configure, provides reports on threats checked, and does not slow down a device
Endpoint devices – such as PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, printers and scanners – are connected to your business network via the internet and are critical for data sharing in remote working environments. By guarding their endpoints, TTBS Endpoint Security protects connected devices from malware and phishing/pharming attempts. It brings special web filtering, email filtering, antivirus and firewall features to keep local area networks and personal devices immune against cyberthreats.
You can manage your business data safely and avert the loss or downtime caused by compromised operating systems.
The TTBS Endpoint Security has multitenant architecture and offers a hassle-free installation experience. It protects all Windows and iOS-based devices.
As cyberthreats become more sophisticated, traditional password methods protecting client and property listing databases become inadequate. Hackers use spear-phishing, pharming and even basic relaying or spraying attacks to break into private accounts. Such incidents can be prevented using multifactor authentication (MFA).
TTBS offers an unerring MFA with zero-trust security to augment your accounts with extra security layers after the authentication with login credentials. It blocks all malicious attempts to access confidential data even if someone hacks an authorised user’s password.
Our MFA allows you to choose your own authentication methods and deploy tailored cybersecurity policies for the business. It secures remote access to files without a device agent and comes with a user-friendly single sign-on (SSO) for authorised users. It is easily scalable and cost-effective for long-term usage.
A firewall is a familiar cybersecurity tool used by several small and medium enterprises. However, using it at basic levels precludes you from many features, putting your devices at risk despite paying a fee for the service.
On the other hand, turning on the full potential of a firewall may cause interference in the normal workflow
as some apps misinterpret even safe files and web links as malicious ones.
To avoid such dilemmas and accelerate the response against cyberattacks, TTBS offers a virtual firewall based on advanced threat intelligence. It protects your devices and network round-the-clock while keeping you updated on the largely unknown threats.
At the same time, our firewall does not obstruct the usage of authentic enterprise apps and secure thirdparty software.
You can easily customise its security controls for such setups.
Deploying TTBS virtual firewall is a matter of minutes, and it thwarts cyberattacks using deep-packet inspection. The virtual firewall’s admin portal will give you data of all blocked threats. With the freedom to choose from different subscription packages, this solution is an affordable choice for real estate businesses of any size.
Your agency connects to the internet daily and needs to ensure that its devices and data remain secure even if there is an inadvertent click on a malicious link.
Free antivirus software programs do not guarantee adequate protection in an online world replete with harmful apps and remotely controlled programs.
That’s where TTBS Web Security helps – it removes digital threats before they touch your network’s
endpoints. The solution reads the intent of various URLs, web requests and attached files. It then instantly
allows, blocks or routes them for deeper scrutiny depending on how secure or malicious they are.
By deploying TTBS Web Security, you can also delve into your remote employees’ online activities and ensure that their devices for work are not compromised. The solution allows you to manage your IT security policies seamlessly, delivers comprehensive analytical reports and is non-intrusive to use with any operating system.
Make a smart choice
As a real estate professional, you help your clients move into safe neighbourhoods and make investments
that will generate good returns. To keep your own digital neighbourhood safe and resilient against growing
online threats, investing in a balanced set of cybersecurity tools is essential.
To know more about protecting your IT assets and avoiding unintended data disclosure, feel free to contact TTBS at 1800 266 1800.