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How to Use Software to Prevent Wire Fraud

Tom Cronkright, Published on July 22, 2019

Over 90% of real estate agencies operate websites and agents use email, computers, and smart phones daily. This constant online presence means realtors have a higher risk of experiencing data breaches and wire fraud. Along with recommended practices, like workplace education and business processes, adding appropriate software gives an extra layer of cybersecurity.

Here, we’ll show you the key pieces of software you need for effective wire fraud prevention.

Antivirus program

In Q1 2019 alone, Kaspersky Lab solutions blocked 843,096,461 attacks across 203 countries. This speaks volumes on the effectiveness of antivirus programs to keep fraudsters out. With software, the foundation of wire fraud prevention starts with a strong antivirus program.

Not only do your employees need to install antivirus software on all their devices, but they must be sure to keep it updated. Networks often have inherent vulnerabilities and cyber perpetrators are always looking for new ways to utilize these weaknesses.

Once software providers discover weak points that can be exploited, they release patches and updates to plug any openings. If your employees don’t keep their antivirus updated, they make themselves targets for cybercrime and wire fraud.

Operating system

Windows 7, an operating system vulnerable to wire fraud

Sourcehttps://pixabay.com/

The operating system you’re using on your devices is also crucial. Always choose operating systems that are still in widespread use and supported by the developers. Not only do you run into problems by using older operating systems, but you also become a prime target for fraudsters.

Take the infamous WannaCry ransomware attack in May of 2017. Fully 67% of the computers affected were running Windows 7, which no longer receive mainstream support from Microsoft after January 13, 2015.

Cyber scammers knew the focus was on Windows 8 and Windows 10, and tailored their attack for Windows 7 devices. It’s estimated WannaCry raked in $4 billion worldwide. In the UK, the NHS (National Health Service), using the outdated Windows XP operating system, lost £92 million (about $1.2 billion).

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, adds an extra layer of security to usernames and passwords. Some forms of 2FA will require you receive a code via email or SMS while others will utilize apps like Google Authenticator.

Even with sensitive information falling into a cyber criminal’s hands, hijacking a transaction is almost impossible with 2FA. This powerful protection works but it is even more effective when all transaction participants have 2FA active on their devices.

Google’s own form of two-step verification was able to block 76% of targeted attacks with SMS codes, 90% with on-device prompts, and 100% with security keys. This proves that 2FA is a strong deterrent for cyber scammers.

Identity verification software

CertifID is a must-have weapon in your arsenal of wire fraud software. Using digital device verification and knowledge-based authentication, it can verify the identities of all involved parties. Knowing the true identities of transaction participants eliminates any room for fraudsters to hijack the transaction.

With CertifID, all wire transfers are guaranteed against fraud up to $1,000,000. For less than $10 per transaction, our software helps you move money with little to no risk. You build a stronger relationship with clients when they can have complete trust and confidence in how you handle their funds.

Browser

an open browser on a tablet, a source of wire fraud

SourcePixabay.com

Most people who spend the majority of their time online, use internet browsers. These essential applications give fraudsters many ways to gather the data needed for wire fraud. Below are some programs you can use to keep your information safe.

Password managers

Cyber scammers will do something called “password spraying” to try and guess their victims’ passwords. The first step to combat this is to generate complex passwords that are almost impossible to figure out. The next step is to store them safely with an encrypted password manager such as LastPass or 1Password.

When you and your employees use generated passwords and managers, you improve your security hygiene and lower your risk of wire fraud.

Email

A whopping 93% of realtors prefer to communicate with their clients through email. Fraudsters know this and focus their attacks on email communications. The result? Email fraud grew by 87% in 2018.

To help strengthen your digital security, there are a few types of software you can use for your email system.

Spam filters

Most email providers have their own spam filters, but they’re rudimentary and allow many spam emails to get through. However, most are harmless.

What’s more frustrating is these spam filters tuck away legitimate emails in your spam folders. At times, you can miss critical communications from your clients. Avoid this by using software from a provider that specializes in blocking spam, such as Mimecast or Spam Bully.

These industry leaders will filter your emails and protect you against spam, phishing, viruses, and malicious attachments. Should any employee have a lapse in judgment, the spam filter acts as a fail-safe, preventing successful attacks.

Encryption

lock symbolizing encryption from wire fraud

SourcePixabay.com

When you use unsecured networks, your email password is usually transmitted securely. However, emails can be intercepted in a man-in-the-middle” attack. If your communications are not encrypted, cybercriminals can read the contents of your email, including any transaction details.

Don’t expose yourself to this type of risk. You should always use secure networks to send important information, but that’s not always possible.

Protect your emails by getting your IT team to enable email encryption. If you are ever in a situation where you have to send emails on an unsecured network, cyber perpetrators won’t be able to read them.

Your domain

There are several ways fraudsters can hack your domain or your website address. Since it all starts with compromising your email account, prevent this by taking a three-pronged approach.

First, you will need to enable 2FA for your domain management portals. Then restrict access to only those who need it.

Second, you need to implement Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC). These extensions block cyber scammers from compromising or taking over your DNS or digital address. DNSSEC verifies the information on your DNS and can detect any intercepted requests.

The third prong to protect your domain from hacking and wire fraud is configuring a Sender Policy Framework (SPF).

SPF benefits your business in two ways. Firstly, any emails from people masquerading as your company are sent directly to recipients’ spam folders. Secondly, legitimate emails from your organization have a better chance of landing in inboxes, instead of spam folders.

Last, but not least in this series is an in-depth view of the hardware you need for wire fraud prevention.

AUTHOR

Tom Cronkright

CEO and Co-Founder @ CertifID

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