What is Security Awareness Training?

shield-wall

Like a shield wall for an army, Security Awareness Training is a valuable tool to help reduce your cyber liability exposure by employing a formal process of educating agents regarding cyber security threats.   The bad guys are working hard to obtain your information so they can leverage it into money. You need to protection your weakest link in your cyber security from being compromised, your agents.  An effective security awareness program will educate & test agents over time to make sure they understand the red flags to identify phishing scams. Also it should cover best practices regarding remote connectivity, funds transfers, mobile devices and encryption, etc. Check out our 5 Simple Steps Real Estate Agents can do themselves to reduce Cyber exposure.

Confirming how well the awareness program is working can be difficult. At the end of the training, agents should become a more alert cyber citizen and always think before they click.  PBI Group is working to develop a Security Awareness Training program for our insured. If you are interested in participating please let us know.

5 Simple Steps Real Estate Agents can do themselves to reduce Cyber exposure

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  1. Funds Transfer Pledge: When you secure a new buy side or sell side client it is time to have the conversation….. a Fund Transfer Pledge is a verbal and written disclosure which puts everyone on notice that you will not author, accept or forward alone any digital communications regarding wire transfer instructions this includes for closings or down payments.“Transfer $100,000 to this account prior to closing… “ is not a conversation to have via email. All communications will take place via telephone or face to face.   Everyone includes the entire team…buyer, seller and various partner in the deal e.g. title agent, closing attorney, etc. Digital communications means, no emails, text messages or faxes.  Think as if it is 1980 when it comes to wire transfers.. pickup the telephone. Here is an example. 
  2. Wi-Fi Connectivity: Connecting to free Wi-Fi hotspots in places like restaurants, airports, and other popular public venues is risky. Bad guys can be “listening” to your data traveling over the open Wi-Fi network to grab something that can lead them into your digital universe. Or worse hackers can plant a keylogger virus on your computer to capture everything you type on your keyboard including your usernames and passwords. The KRACK Attack is just this concern. 
  3. USB Drives: Never leave your thumb drive where a stranger can take it, put some malicious code on it and then return it. Never use a found USB drive.  Plugging in a USB drive that contains malicious code could open up your digital universe to bad guys.
  4. Mobile Device Safe Guards: Make sure your smart phone and tablets have a strong password ( and that is NOT 1234).. this will help with piece of mind if you lose it. Also, setup up and practice beforehand how you can remotely locate and erase the data if your device is lost. For the iPhone this is called “Find My iPhone”. It is one thing to have to buy a new iPhone or iPad, but it is entirely different for a bad guy to have access to all your email and accounts from mobile device.
  5. Encrypt Laptop, Desktops and Smart Phones: This one you maybe need a tech to help with. The concept here is to encrypt your device’s hard drive so it is very difficult for the bad guys to read any files from it if they do happen to get inside. I will post some How To videos for how you can configure this on some of the popular devices.