Why cybercriminals are increasingly targeting your real estate clients

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Are you protecting customers in the real estate industry? If not, you might find some prospects in this particular vertical in need of your help. Cybercriminals are increasingly attacking the real estate and construction industries – and according to an FBI report, the real estate sector has become a top target.

In the last two years, cyberattacks in the real estate sector has risen 136 percent and has incurred over $12 billion in losses due to wire transfers. With attacks in this sector on the rise, it’s time for service providers to look beyond the healthcare and financial industries, which have historically been popular areas of focus for MSPs, and start considering what they can offer heavily targeted individuals real estate businesses.

To help you start the conversation with businesses in the real estate industry, we examined three common reasons why the industry is being so heavily targeted – and shared some ideas on how you can start protecting them.

It’s time for service providers to look beyond the healthcare and financial industries, and start considering what they can offer the increasingly targeted real estate businesses. Click To Tweet

3 Reasons why the real estate industry is being heavily targeted

1. Frequent money transfers. One of the largest reasons why cybercriminals are heavily targeting the real estate industry is that it is lucrative. Real estate agents deal with large money transfers daily.

Attackers have learned that through business email compromise (BEC) and account takeover attacks (ATO) they have been able to impersonate the agent or whoever is requesting the large transfer. By doing this, they can often wire the money to a different account before the mistake or impersonation is discovered. To protect customers from BEC attacks, MSPs should look for email security solutions that leverage AI and machine learning. For example, Barracuda Sentinel uses AI to learn a user’s unique communication patterns. If an account has been compromised, the solution detects the anomalous behavior and alerts the MSP.


2. Lax security standards. Agents and real estate firms deal with very sensitive private information – bank accounts, financial history, tax documents, and more. What is concerning, is the lack of security associated with protecting this vital information.

Most agents use their personal email accounts for work. That means they most likely have no email security solutions in place, use weak security passwords, and many times use their own marketing automation systems. All of these components create a tempting and potentially very fruitful opportunity for a cybercriminal. The lack of email security makes it easy for hackers to break into agents’ accounts and impersonate them. Inherently, this creates an opportunity for MSPs to work with real estate firms to establish a robust email security solution to protect them from a variety of attacks. For example, Barracuda Essentials combines the necessary components to safeguard customers against today’s latent threats like phishing attacks, zero-day attacks, DoS attacks, and more.

The complexity of the process and the number of people involved in real estate transactions, it is easy for cybercriminals to find and exploit the weakest link. Click To Tweet

3.  Frequent communication. When it comes to the real estate industry, there are multiple parties involved – buyers, sellers, contractors, lenders, agents, and lawyers. Due to the complexity of the process and the number of people involved, it is easy for cybercriminals to find and exploit the weakest link.

The best way to prevent human error is with education. You might not be able to educate every single individual involved in these complicated processes, but each person that you do train strengthens your defense and minimizes the risk to all parties involved. Managed PhishLine, delivered by Barracuda MSP is a comprehensive security awareness training that educates users on how to spot and identify malicious attempts.

As the real estate industry continues to be targeted, customers in this arena will soon be looking to providers – like you — to help them secure their business-critical data and avoid account takeover attacks. To discover more reasons why cybercriminals are targeting the real estate industry, or to learn how to further protect these customers, watch the recorded webinar.

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