Cyber attackers want information and money, making real estate businesses a prime target for attacks. A few easy measures will help protect your clients’ most sensitive data from reaching the wrong hands.

#1- Use Common Sense

Prevention is the best defense against a cyber attack. The simplest measures are the easiest, like:

  • No one should write passwords on a sticky note and tape them to their computer. One disgruntled employee seeing a password note left lying can create havoc on a system.
  • Password fatigue may be real, but it’s our best interest to not use easily breakable passwords like “password” or “123456.”
  • Everyone should know not to open attachments from unknown sources or to avoid emailing sensitive information. These open the door to cybercrime.

#2- Be wary of open Wifi connections

Since the commercial real estate industry works everywhere and anywhere all the time, CRE professionals must take extra care with their Wifi connections. Cybercriminals have two modes of attack with public Wifi. First, they are experts are imitating network names. These malicious hotspots trick users into logging in with reputable-sounding Wifi names. As soon as you login, the cybercriminal has your data.

The second tactic Norton calls “man-in-the-middle attack,” where the cybercriminals use an open network to break into your computer. Norton explains, “When a computer makes a connection to the Internet, data is sent from point A (computer) to point B (service/website), and vulnerabilities can allow an attacker to get in between these transmissions and “read” them.” This means your private connection may not be so private. Some cybercriminals buy software kits or devices to help them “eavesdrop” on what you are doing online, capturing your login information. Solution: never use an open Wifi network to log into accounts with sensitive data: banking, financial, or client information.

#3- Routinely change passwords

Yes, changing passwords frequently can be a real hassle. Remember: with the increasing number of cyber hacks, our information can be compromised at any time. Change passwords on a regular basis, like every six months or even more frequently. Use a different password with the scheduled change. Don’t share passwords across all accounts. At a bare minimum, use a different password for personal email, for financial institutions, and for work accounts.

#4- Use web security gateway

These gateways identify phishing websites used in cyber attacks. They block the website and activities, preventing intrusion into a company’s network. In other words, they help block data loss through infections by malware and viruses.

#5- Put IoT on a separate Wifi network

The Internet of Things (IoT) is delivering serious benefits for commercial buildings and their management teams, but the current generation isn’t as secured against an attack like you might think. Protect your business from these vulnerabilities by isolating all IoT devices on a Wifi network separate from Guest and Employee connections.

#6- Keep Updating

Even the most secure connections have vulnerabilities. It’s these weaknesses hackers probe to exploit. Don’t eschew updating systems with the latest patches. The latest software updates and security upgrades prevent cybercriminals from leveraging these vulnerabilities.