Cybersecurity threats are on the rise in real estate. In the commercial real estate industry, special care must be applied to IT systems. These systems are integral to conduct business and store important client and employee information.

Commercial real estate businesses are not mandated by federal law to implement information security programs. This has ultimately led to many real estate companies not investing the right amount of resources in order to secure their online systems. Below are some of the most prominent tools hackers use in a breach and ways to minimize cyber risk.

Types of Breaches

The easiest and most common way hackers attack IT systems is through email. Fewer than 10% of cybercrimes occur outside of email. With an untrained eye, it can be very challenging to notice a cyber threat before it’s too late. Hackers will often use C-suite impersonation or social engineering where the email address appears it’s from an executive, when in fact, one letter is actually missing in the email.

According to Forbes, “Phishing is one of the most prevalent types of cybercrimes with over 500 million phishing attacks reported in 2022. For perspective, that’s over double the number of reported attacks in 2021—and not surprisingly so, as it’s one of the easiest types of scams to fall prey to This has encouraged every business and individual operating inside the real estate industry go through some sort of cybersecurity training to increase organizational awareness regarding online threats.”

Hackers also try to exploit the building management systems used by real estate companies. Oftentimes, non-IT workers are managing those systems, so proper precautions are not always in place. It’s important to have additional IT resources to review and/or manage these systems as well as set-up proper protections and security protocols in the event of a breach.

How to Minimize Risk

Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to protect commercial real estate companies against all cybersecurity risks. Investing in Cyber Liability insurance, implementing advanced security and compliance measures, not conducting wire transfers through emails, and enforcing an IT cybersecurity training program for all employees will at least help mitigate the risk and financial fallout from getting hacked.

For a more information on cyberthreats and strategies, contact an MMA advisor today.

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