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Cyber attacks on the rise for the real estate industry

As cyber breaches are becoming more common in Australia, real estate organisations need to become more vigilant when it comes to protecting their balance sheet, and the reputational damage that can be caused by a cyber breach.

The industry is seeing an increase in cyber breaches, as hackers realise the potential to access sensitive information that real estate companies hold.

This year alone, Honan have received claims for two separate agencies that have been victims of Social Engineering Fraud. In both cases, hackers were able to access documents and contracts, changing the bank account details to their details, sending payments directly to the hacker’s accounts. Together both claims totalled over $100,000.

Ransomware is another form of a cyber breach affecting the real estate industry. This occurs when malware infects files or devices, locking them and demanding a ransom to regain access. With offices relying on IT systems to run the day-to-day operations, a ransomware attack can shut down a business for days or weeks and can be extremely costly to resolve.

ASX-listed property valuation firm Landmark White was made aware of a cyber breach in February of this year, forcing the company into a trading halt. The company expects to lose up to $7m in revenue as a result of the breach, causing the CEO Chris Coonan to resign. The company resumed trading in May with the share price plummeted by 40%.

With today’s reliance on all things digital to run a business, it is more important than ever that the real estate industry look towards their insurance broker for guidance on how to manage their cyber risk.