Cyber Security Part 2: How to protect yourself from an attack

Protecting the data of your buyers is essential.

 

With cyber-crimes on the rise jumping 480% in 2016 (reported by title companies to the Internet Crime Complaint Center ), victims of cybercrime in the  course of a 3 year span (2013 to 2016) totaled 22,292. This equaled an exposed dollar loss of $1.6 Billion. Over 80% of these complaints happen in the U.S. with less than 3% occurring in the United Kingdom, the runner up.

However there are also many tools, tips and technology in place that can help reverse the effects of cybercrime on the Real Estate and Title Industry, so you can protect yourself and your buyers.
It all starts with understanding what you are protecting: state IDs, social security numbers, financial and banking information. Your data can be kept safe in a few simple ways:

Encryption
is a process for transforming information that anyone can read into something that is unreadable unless one has the right “key” so the information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. It is a way to protect the email’s content from being read by unwanted individuals other than the intended recipients. Encryption may require user authentication.

 

Surf safely when browsing. Be sure you are on trusted websites. Be cautious of links, emails or opening websites as they could be malicious files. Use encrypted websites that begin with “http://.” And always go to important sites directly (such as your bank or websites containing other financial information).

 

Create strong passwords. Use letters, numbers, and punctuation at least eight characters long. Use unique passwords for different applications. Change your passwords every 120-180 days.

 

Wipe your hard drive when disposing of your device. It is important to realize that even your digital devices that are not in use currently still contain your personal data. Always be sure that your computers, mobile devices and other media are destroyed securely.

 

Install Virus and Fire Wall Protection. Although no antivirus software can protect you from all viruses, but it’s a good idea to install it as a precaution.

 

Configure computers for security and keep them updated. On your PC be sure to test settings & security patches and perform “Windows Updates” monthly. On your Mac “Software Updates” should be set to update regularly. Don’t delay installing the recommended updates.

 

Configure mobile devices for security and keep them updated. Use a quality password and the encryption features. Set your Bluetooth to “hidden mode” or disabled when not in use. Only install apps created by reputable companies. Antivirus and firewall-like features.

 

Protection for Buyers is important and you should never access your private information using public Wi-Fi and always use a two-step authentication email service such as Google Authenticator. You can also protect your information on Social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by checking your security settings. Facebook’s version of two-factor is called Login Approvals and on the desktop you access it by going to Settings > Security.

 

Other ways involve sharpening your situational awareness:

– URLs embedded in the message don’t match the sender

– URLs contain a misleading domain name

– The message contains poor spelling and grammar

– The message asks for personal information. For example, your bank doesn’t need to ask for your account number.

– The message appears to be from a government agency

– The offer seems too good to be true

– You didn’t initiate the action prompting the response

– You’re asked to send money to cover expenses

– The message makes unrealistic threats

– Something just doesn’t look right. There is probably a reason why

 

Although a cyber-attack of a small business rarely makes headlines, small businesses are more likely to be targeted as they are less likely to have the tools to defend themselves that a larger cooperation would. This creates a false sense of security.

No business or individual is immune to the effects of cyber-criminals. Be sure to take the necessary precautions when it comes to protecting important information. Through Education, Awareness, and Preparedness you can protect yourself and your trusting Buyers.

 

Want to learn more?

 

Contact Us Today To Host Your Own Cyber Course!

During Our Training You Will Learn:

 

How to protect your data

How to help your clients develop situational awareness of these attacks

How these attacks work

How to pick partners you can trust
Contact Regina Braga: 401-773-2085 res-title.com rbraga@res-title.com

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