Estate agents encouraged to be vigilant against cyber crime

Estate agents

With the increase of remote working, IT systems have become more vulnerable and cyber-related crimes have been on the rise, according to the latest figures from the NFIB

Estate agents are being encouraged to be hyper vigilant and ensure they have procedures in place to protect their systems against cybercrime.

With the increase of remote working, IT systems have become more vulnerable and cyber-related crimes have been on the rise, according to the latest figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

The data reveals that between January and October 2021, around 24,000 cases of cybercrime were reported, which amount to reported losses of more than £11m. Cases range from incidents of hacking, computer viruses, malware and spyware.

Paul Offley, compliance officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, said: Cybercrime is more prevalent than ever before, and given the fact that agents have a considerable amount of sensitive data they hold, it is vital that all possible precautions are taken to avoid a potential incident.

If large corporations are vulnerable to being infiltrated, how much more susceptible are small businesses such as an independent agent, who may possibly have less robust cyber defences, he said.

As a result of higher levels of cyber-criminal activity, there has been an increase in the cyber insurance premiums, along with insurers asking for more information and introducing more stringent risk management procedures, he said.

Offley adds that cyber liability is not typically included under professional indemnity insurance (PI) and should not be relied upon as an alternative to a standalone cyber liability policy covering first and third-party loss.

With the growing treat of cyber-attack, a greater reliance on technology, and the type of sensitive information agents hold, agents should consider adding cyber liability to their insurance programme if they do not already have it.

Offley continued: The majority of businesses will only consider cyber liability after they have experienced an incident, which is obviously too late. Given the high number of cyber related crimes we have seen in the UK over the past year, it is advisable to rather be proactive and have a comprehensive cyber liability policy in place before an incident occurs.

He said:

It is a small price to pay for the reassurance of having support when you need it in a worst-case scenario.

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