Even before the Louisiana Association of REALTORS® was hacked in February, its leaders were shopping for cybersecurity insurance as a member benefit and crafting education for agents on preventing and responding to cyberthreats.
“It’s top of mind for everyone in the real estate industry right now,” says Amy Fennell, the association’s communications director. “We’re seeing more awareness among members about cybersecurity, but it’s not about just having insurance coverage, it’s also cyberdefense and what you’re doing to protect yourself.”
When hacking happens
Fennell was the first to notice the suspicious email that appeared to come from within the association’s network from a staff person who left the organization a year before. It included an attachment and a message that read: Warning. Please see attachment.
“I alerted our outside tech service provider immediately and they were able to shut down that email account and scan our network for any breaches,” says Fennell. Fortunately, the incident was caught in time and didn’t cause any damage. “I imagine if I had opened the attachment it would have launched some sort of virus or malware.”