5 Easy-to-Implement Cyber Security Tips for Real Estate Agents
In today's digital age, cyber security is a critical aspect of a REALTORS® work. Protecting sensitive information and ensuring a secure online presence is paramount. Here are five simple and effective cyber security tips tailored for from our Director of Information Technology, Kip Schumm:
Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Create strong passwords for your online accounts by using a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or names. Additionally, enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) wherever possible. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring at least two forms of verification before granting access, such as a password and a verification code sent to your phone.
Watch Out for Scareware
Scareware is a type of malware or deceptive software tactic that aims to scare or deceive users into taking certain actions. It often involves the display of fraudulent pop-up messages or system alerts that falsely claim a user's computer is infected with malware or facing security threats. These messages are designed to create a sense of urgency and prompt the user to purchase or download fake or unnecessary security products. Here are a few common ways scareware pop-ups may appear on your device:
Malicious websites: Visiting a compromised or malicious website can trigger scareware pop-ups. These websites may use various techniques to redirect you to a page that displays the fake pop-up, often designed to make it appear legitimate.
Malvertising: Scareware pop-ups can also be delivered through malicious advertisements (malvertisements) that are displayed on legitimate websites. These ads may exploit vulnerabilities in your web browser or use deceptive techniques to trick you into clicking on them.
Bundled software: Some legitimate software downloads may come bundled with adware or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that generate scareware pop-ups. Users who do not carefully review the software’s installation process may inadvertently allow these unwanted programs to be installed.
Safe Email Practices
Be weary of emails from unidentified or dubious sources. Avoid opening attachments or clicking links from senders you don't know. Verify the email address of the sender and watch out for phishing indicators, such as misspelled words or strange requests, especially if they are asking for personal information.
Use Secure Wi-Fi and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Your data is vulnerable on public Wi-Fi networks. Refrain from using public Wi-Fi when dealing with sensitive information like client transactions. Working from your campus ensures you an encrypted internet connection.
Regular Data Backups
Regularly back up your important files and data to a secure and encrypted external storage device or a trusted cloud service. In case of a cyber attack or data loss, having recent backups ensures that you can quickly restore your information and continue your work without major disruptions.
By implementing these easy-to-follow cyber security tips, you significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber threats and protect your sensitive data. At Coldwell Banker Premier Realty, we prioritize cyber security for our agents providing ongoing education and resources to ensure a safe and secure digital working environment.