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July 27, 2017

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Real Estate Agent Ransomware

by Bob Schwartz

Real Estate Agent Ransomware

California real estate - New California Real Estate Tax - Real Estate Agent RansomwareJust today I saw study go by by Google estimating that Ransomware has ripped off people to the tune of  over $25 million in just the last two years!

Well, just this year, I’ve noticed a lot more phony emails directed to my real estate email account that I’m assuming our rent somewhere. It would seem to me that thieves are definitely targeting realtors here in the United States and perhaps most other high profile professionals as well. you and you

Sure, I get plenty of spam type general emails trying to get me to click through to a specific site or download a specific file. But, this year I’ve noticed a lot more of these types of are youin you and suspicious email directed toward my real estate email account and in a number of cases having specific messages involving real estate subjects. I have added some examples  of these emails at the bottom of this  post.

Now, I should state that the objective of Ransomware is to get the innocent computer users to become victims by clicking on emails that have infected email attachments or to direct you to sites that will infect your computer. Perhaps, I should state the obvious here, and that’s the fact that Ransomware will lock up your computer and you will be unable to access any files without paying the crooks for them to send you an unlock code. But, even paying them may not ensure that you will get your data back.

Real Estate Agent Ransomware

The most recent version of Ransomware is called WannaCry. If you get infected with this encryption virus, the cybercriminal’s usually demand a $300 payment (ransom) in Bitcoin within three days! If the innocent victim does not pay within the first three days, these cybercriminals usually demand double that amount. If the higher ransom is not paid within a week, they say that all the files on your computer will be deleted or permanently locked.

Here are a couple of ideas to protect yourself  and your data from cybercriminals:

  1. Be sure your operating systems and browsers are automatically updated.
  2. Keep your security software updated.
  3. Be extremely careful of suspicious emails, this is especially true if they have attachments or hyperlinks.
  4. Back up all of your data on a regular basis. For those of you who are thinking of oral or already have a continuous backup system, be careful! With a real-time backup system you could end up backing up the malicious software. Therefore, I would recommend that if you do use a continuous backup system you also backup to a external hard drive at least once a week. most businesses also have a separate backup off-site. Real estate agents can do a similar backup to an inexpensive external hard drive that they take home each week and just bring back to the office the following week to do the backup. This type of off-site backup’s main purpose is to avoid some type of major damage at your office such as fire or flood that wipes out your office computer and data. By having a backup out of the office, and agent can mitigate a possible data disaster.
  5. Lastly, personally if your data is encrypted by randomly, I would advise not to pay! After all, these are cyber criminals, do you trust them to really restore your data? plus, I think if enough people took a hard stand on this and didn’t pay  that would decrease the proliferation of this type of crime.

Below are some emails that I believe are Ransomware. In some cases, for publication, I masked specific email addresses:

Real Estate Agent Ransomware***************************************************************************************************************************************************

Real Estate Agent Ransomware**********************************************************************************************************************************

Real Estate Agent Ransomware**************************************************************************************************************************

Real Estate Agent Ransomware*******************************************************************************************************************************************

If you would like some more information about WannaCry Ransomware, check out this page on Wikipedia.

 

 

 

Real Estate Agent Ransomware

 

 


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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. So we have a choice, pay the ransom demanded by unknown internet criminals or pay the extortion demanded by Microsoft for their spyware, sorry I mean operating system. Clearly Microsoft have some questions to answer about the design of their software, which is so insecure. One of the reasons so many are running older versions of Windows is that each new version makes so much working hardware obsolete overnight. This is software created hardware obsolescence in the name of profit. These attacks also calls into question our growing dependence on IoT devices. The technology industry is internet enabling products with a traditional working life that is longer than the time since the internet began. This will produce built in obsolescence on steroids. In a few years cyber criminals will be able to take over your home and demand money for you to regain control of it. Just imagine how many times you would have been forced to replace the white goods in your home or your car, if their operation was linked to the life cycle of Windows OS products. How long before you are forced to scrap your car, fridge or television because its OS is no longer supported or has been hacked. Time to pause and consider where this technology is taking us.

  2. Jul 28 2017

    I know that no one is 100% safe. If someone wants to hack into your system, they will. I may be a little bit on the safe side but that’s because not a lot of people use this OS and I like that even though it may have its down side to it. I used to be a windows user until windows started doing some crazy things on its layout and it became hard for me to use it. The only thing I like about using a mac is that I can find everything I need/want to use very quickly. So In conclusion, I couldn’t adapt to its updates so I had to switch.

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