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Corcoran Group Cyberattack an Industry Wake-Up Call

While business hacking can put client data at risk, it can have other motives – like hurting a business by sharing corporate info with rank-and-file workers.

NEW YORK – A cyberattack on the computer systems of the Corcoran Group last Friday is serving as a reminder for all professionals in the real estate industry to protect their technology from hackers.

Confidential financial information regarding the company’s operations was sent to every agent in its firm. The email reportedly was sent to the entire company and contained agent splits, marketing budgets and gross commission income.

“Since we are a commission-based business, with agents rewarded at different split levels depending on their production history, this information has the potential to be internally explosive,” writes Frederick Peters, the CEO of Warburg Realty, in a column for Forbes.com. She called on the industry to take cyberthreats seriously.

In the Corcoran Group hack, the email was traced back to the firm’s president of sales, whose email account had been hacked. No customer data was involved, and the firm says it’s investigating to find out who hacked the official’s email account.

“A Corcoran employees’ email account was compromised and three emails containing inaccurate and misleading Corcoran information were distributed within Corcoran in a deliberate attempt to distract employees and agents, disrupt business and cause damage to Corcoran,” the firm wrote in a statement following the incident.

Companies are increasingly on alert from the growth of hackers trying to compromise business computer systems or even threaten wire transactions with clients.

“We must all take security ever more seriously and devote more time and resources to maintaining it,” Peters notes in the Forbes.com column. “As systems grow more complex, and we layer newer fixes on top of older ones, the maze which our systems become grows harder to monitor. Paring these overburdened systems down will not only create greater efficiency but also leave fewer points of entry for the ill-intentioned hacker or piece of malware.”

Source: “What the Cyberattack on the Corcoran Group Means For Real Estate,” Forbes.com (Sept. 18, 2019) and “Corcoran Says ‘Criminal’ Hackers Leaked Agent Splits,” The Real Deal (Sept. 13, 2019)

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