More than a tenth of law firms have been victims of cybercrime in property-related transactions, urging businesses to make cybersecurity a top priority for 2023, new data reveals We sought.
A study by real estate experts InfoTrack found that 16% (%) of respondents were affected by cybercrime, with phishing and pharming being the most common.
Sebastian Mill, InfoTrack’s global chief technology officer, said more than three-quarters (77%) admitted losing their clients’ money is their top concern.
“As property transactions require large amounts of money, transfer law firms and real estate brokers are attractive to cybercriminals,” Mill said.
“Many of these companies are small businesses and typically do not have staff dedicated to technical management. are the number one target for email phishing, identity theft and payment redirect fraud.
“Here in Australia, we know of cases where fraudsters masquerading as lawyers have made transactions asking buyers to transfer additional funds related to stamp duty to bank accounts belonging to criminal groups.”
“If your client suffers a financial loss, you may be held liable, which can lead to professional negligence lawsuits, increased liability insurance premiums, and a damaged reputation.”
Against the backdrop of last year’s high-profile cyberattacks against Optus and Medibank, Mill said 98% of respondents were positive that they had cybersecurity measures in place, with nearly three-quarters (73%) say they take cybersecurity very seriously.
“The safest way to ensure funds are transferred correctly and data is secure is to use electronic transmission workspaces and secure communication channels,” he said.
Other simple measures include:
- Email providers using multi-factor authentication such as Office 365 or G Suite and looking to use encryption tools such as What’s App for client communications
- Paid antivirus software for extra protection against ransomware and phishing
- Annual cybersecurity training for all employees. According to AIC data, 30% of data breaches are due to human error.
“There is no question that we are approaching a time when consumers are not just asking how professionals protect them, but have higher expectations of the services they provide,” said Mill.
In 2022, InfoTrack helped facilitate over 58,000 real estate transactions securely through SecureExchange.
© Scoop Media