Is Your Cyber-House Secure?


With the new year comes renewed concern on whether businesses are prepared to combat cyber threats from both national and international operatives. The FBI has identified the business email compromise as a sophisticated scam that is growing and targeting small, medium, and even large businesses. It reports between December 2016 and May 2018, there was a 136% increase in identified global exposed losses. In the last five years, the FBI estimates approximately $12 Billion in losses. It identifies real estate sector (title companies, law firms, real estate agents, buyers, and sellers) as a primary target, with a 1100% rise in real estate transaction victims in the last two years. In an effort to equip real estate professionals, fighting wire fraud and cyber-crime is a central topic for the National Association of Realtors® Broker Summit Program this April.

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) is a valuable resource in evaluating and minimizing your businesses’ risk. The NCSC provides counterintelligence outreach to private sector entities (like the real estate sector) at risk. The NCSC recently issued a program called “Know the Risk, Raise Your Shield” to provide training resources and defensive measures to safeguard your business. The campaign is aimed at helping professionals to better understand cyber threats and provide guidance and tips for protecting sensitive information, assets and technology.

Available on the NCSC’s website are useful training resources for your office. There are links to a handful of videos, including several recent CBS 60 Minutes reports including one about how China can spy on your electronics and NCSC awareness materials. There are print materials, posters, brochures, and flyers, all aimed at arming professionals with best practices to avoid cybersecurity crimes. The NCSC also distilled its best recommendations to the following:

  1. Strengthen your passwords.
  2. Lock-down your social media accounts.
  3. Delete suspicious emails.
  4. Don’t expect privacy when you travel.
  5. Know who you’re talking to.

Even if you do all of these things, it may not be enough. Many cyber-crime experts caution that it is not a question on whether you’ll be a victim, but when. The NCSC Awareness Materials give you the roadmap and tools to educate your colleagues and prepare your staff to combat cyber-crime. So, as we embark on a new year, take a look at your cyber-house. Is it secure? If you are unsure, utilize these free resources to better understand these threats and implement new procedures and policies to protect you and your business from cyber-crime.

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