A Real Estate Firm's Cybersecurity Wake-Up Call

A well-established Real Estate company thrived in New York, USA, for over two decades. They prided themselves on their success with five offices across the city and a team of 500+ agents. However, one unfortunate day would change everything when the senior property manager became the target of a spear phishing attack, leading to a company-wide ransomware incident.

The Vulnerable Target:

The property manager relied heavily on email communications to negotiate lease terms with owners and new tenants. He routinely shared agreement copies with the company's Finance and Legal departments via email.

The Cybersecurity Ignorance:

On an unsuspecting day, the property manager received a sophisticated phishing email, seemingly from a senior IT admin, instructing him to click a link for a password reset. He trusted the email's appearance and complied with the instructions without realizing the malicious intent.

The Phishing Trap:

Unbeknownst to the property manager, he had fallen victim to a carefully orchestrated phishing attack. Clicking the link resulted in ransomware being downloaded onto his PC and his email credentials being compromised. The attackers then used his compromised account to launch a ransomware attack on the Finance and legal teams.

The Breach Unleashed:

Within hours, chaos erupted as multiple employees reported being unable to access their files, and a message appeared on the screen asking to transfer substantial sums in the form of Bitcoins. The IT department confirmed the ransomware attack, and the firm was held hostage by cybercriminals.

The Aftermath:

The real estate firm faced a catastrophe as the legal team struggled to keep track of tenant lease renewals, and the finance team needed help to issue invoices. The attack even compromised sensitive PII and medical data in the HR department.

The Awakening:

The firm's IT team acknowledged its lack of cybersecurity expertise and realized the need for robust security controls. However, the cost of hiring in-house cybersecurity professionals was daunting, leading them to outsource the task to SafeAeon for forensic analysis and security improvements.

The Redemption:

SafeAeon conducted a comprehensive RCA, identifying the spear phishing email as the root cause of the breach. They onboarded the firm for Email Security Monitoring, 24x7 MEDR Monitoring, and regular Phishing campaigns and awareness Training. The following security measures were implemented:

  • • Regular employee awareness training to inform them of the latest cyber threats
  • • Role-based access control to restrict access to critical data
  • • Enforcing the Zero Trust principle, filtering emails before they reach user mailboxes
  • • Regular Backup of their critical data to the Cloud

The Lesson:

The devastating ransomware incident underscored the importance of adopting the zero-trust principle in IT infrastructure. By integrating SafeAeon's Email Security, MEDR, and Awareness Training, the real estate firm emerged stronger and became a vocal advocate for SafeAeon's cybersecurity solutions.

Call to Action:

As a vigilant business owner, safeguard your company's future by offloading cybersecurity burdens to SafeAeon's Heavyweight 24x7 WatchGuard. Contact SafeAeon today to ensure peace of mind and protect your business from potential cybersecurity risks.