Please note: Our office will be closed on Monday, May 27th, 2024, in observance of Memorial Day.

How To Reduce your Exposure to Cybercrimes

Like many other businesses, real estate professionals are losing millions of dollars annually due to cybercrimes. Here are a few simple (and inexpensive) steps you can take that will help to significantly reduce your cyber risk exposure.

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1. Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds a very effective layer of protection to prevent others from accessing your computer. Here’s how it works:

Log in to your computer with your password, which starts the MFA process. MFA sends a message to your smartphone for you to confirm or, alternatively, have you insert a USB security key with coding unique only to you. This simple step can block up to 99.9% of automated attacks.

The cost is surprisingly affordable. Some MFA providers offer bare-bone plans for free, while fully-loaded packages might run around $10 per user per month.

appraiser multi factor authentication image

MFA has become so effective that many businesses, like financial service companies, have introduced MFA to their clients. Have you ever had to enter a 5 or 6-digit code that was texted to your phone? Most cyber insurance programs now require applicants to secure their systems with MFA before they issue a policy.

When choosing an MFA service, ensure the applications you use are supported. Our office utilizes the Duo MFA security system, which works for our critical applications, including logins to workstations, both locally and remotely. Bob Wiley, president of LIA, says that using it has been surprisingly easy

2. Update Your Software

appraiser software updates

Make use of automatic updates for all devices, applications, and operating systems. Do yourself a big favor and turn on automatic updates. Bad actors will exploit flaws in the system. Update the operating system on your mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. And don’t overlook your applications – especially the web browsers – on all your devices. Those need to be updated as well. If you are unsure that everything is being properly updated, consider engaging with a service provider that can deploy software to track what software needs updating and automatically apply the patches. This can save you a lot of time and give you peace of mind knowing you are always running the latest, most secure software.

3. Think Before You Click

prevent hacking and think before you click for appraisers

Over 90% of successful cyber-attacks start with a phishing email. A phishing scheme is when a link or webpage looks legitimate, but it’s a trick designed by bad actors to have you reveal your passwords, social security number, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information. Once they have that information, they can use it on legitimate sites. And they may try to get you to run malicious software, also known as malware. Even if the link is from someone you know and trust, contact them over the phone or through text to confirm if it seems suspicious. Their account might be compromised, sending malicious messages to their entire contact list. A moment of time spent thinking before acting can save you from becoming the next victim.


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