Page 3 - Upper Peninsula Business Today -- March 2019
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The author will be writing a monthly article throughout 2019 on Cybersecurity across various mar- ket segments. Be sure to watch for it to see how your business may benefit from this important information. Good reading and see you next month.
Although real estate businesses have vulnera- ble information and systems that make them a focus for potential cyber attackers, there is no federal law that requires the real estate market to comply with cybersecurity requirements.
The FBI has established that more than $3 bil- lion of losses in the real estate sector have been attributed to business email compromise (BEC). In a BEC scenario, a cyber attacker will send an email from a phony account that
appears to be from inside the targeted business. This email tricks the business into wiring funds to criminal bank accounts by pretending to be colleagues such as vendors, agents, or sellers. While any business can be subject to a BEC attack, the FBI states that the BEC scam “targets all participants in real estate transactions.” Because of frequent wire transfers in the real estate industry, BEC scams will remain a signif- icant threat to any business engaged in real estate transactions. [1]
Now that real estate businesses are a target of cybercriminals, they must implement protec- tions that will reduce the chance of an attack and
will allow for the ability to respond quickly to minimize damage to the business information and systems. There are a few actions that can be taken to help mitigate the risk; developing a wire transfer protection policy, employee training to recognize email deception, backup of data sys- tems, and acquisition of cyberliability insurance that covers risks like BEC scams.
It is plain to see that real estate organizations have become a target for cyber criminals. Improving cybersecurity controls and managing
risk through proactive actions should be a pri- ority for every organization in the real estate industry.
[1] Stein, G., “Top Five Cybersecurity Threats to Real Estate Businesses”, National Real Estate Investor, Sep 2017. A. Elisabeth Tolsdorf is author of this article and the Direc-
tor of NIST SP 800-171 Compliance for Hawk Technolo- gies, a woman-owned firm located in Houghton, Michigan. Hawk is the Upper Midwest’s primary source for NIST SP 800-171 Compliance services. Additional information about NIST SP 800-171 and Hawk’s CAD services capabilities can be found at
Cybersecurity and the Real Estate Market
900 1st Ave. South, Suite A P.O. Box 1064, Escanaba, MI 49829
906-786-3300 •
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