The US real estate market is worth an estimated $226.8 billion in 2022, making it a prime target for cybercriminals looking to make a quick buck by hacking into databases and stealing information on properties that are up for sale or rent.
With so much at stake, cyber attacks can be particularly devastating for realtors. Unfortunately, not everyone is sure how to actively protect their business against it.
Previously, we discussed security measures both for homeowners and commercial real estate. But how about for real estate agents? Here are seven of the most important steps real estate agents can take to secure their real estate collectives against an attack.
Keep your passwords confidential and secure.
As a real estate agent, your clients trust you with personal information and confidential records. Data protection is a critical matter to them, and you’d be wise to take their concerns seriously.
Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. It’s tempting, but don’t do it. If one account gets hacked, then your whole system is compromised. You can create unique passwords for each account by using a password manager like 1Password or LastPass.
Install antivirus software and keep it updated regularly.
Antivirus software is a good way to keep your computer safe from viruses, as well as other forms of malware. You can get antivirus software from the app store, or you can install it from another provider.
Another tip is to keep your antivirus software updated. If your computer has a subscription, make sure it stays current with updates. If not, check for new versions on a regular basis. An outdated antivirus can reduce the performance of your device by making it slow or even causing crashes.
Always keep your software current—not just the anti-virus program.
Software updates are important for cybersecurity and digital safety, but many people don’t make them a priority. It’s easy to get behind on updates, but it can be dangerous: Not only do software updates often contain fixes for known security issues that could leave your devices vulnerable to attack, but you also need the latest version of any program in order for it to work properly.
Updating your software is especially important for your operating system and web browser. To ensure that you’re always running the latest version of your OS, install automatic updates (if possible) and check for new versions regularly.
Always verify, before you trust anyone.
When it comes to real estate transactions, everyone involved should remain aware of who they’re talking with at all times. To confirm identities, double check contact information through official channels and verify in person whenever possible—even if it’s just over the phone!
Be cautious of anyone who suddenly demands immediate action or appears to be communicating in an unfamiliar way. It’s important to remember that scammers can be extremely convincing. If an offer sounds too good to pass up, double check before you move forward—and always verify!
Think before you click.
Don’t open email attachments or click on links in emails unless you know who sent them and why they’re important. Even if you do know who sent it, think twice before clicking on any links in an email because they could lead to malicious websites that infect your computer with viruses and other malware.
Be careful what you download. When downloading software, files or other content from the Internet, always use a reputable site. If you’re downloading an app for your smartphone or tablet, be sure it’s from a trusted source such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store.
While it may sound difficult, the steps outlined above are actually quite simple and easy to do. Although they may seem basic, they are all necessary and everyone should adhere to these security best practices.
Ben Shepardson is a Realty Biz News Contributing Writer and has a long track record of success in online marketing and web development. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, he worked doing enterprise-level SEO and started an online business offering web development services to small business customers.
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