Real estate sector data breach could be worse than Optus hack, digital rights advocates say
Many real estate companies ask for a vast amount of personal information from tenants in order for them to secure their rental property, like passport numbers, bank statements, previous addresses, and driver’s license numbers.
Now the spotlight is on the real estate sector – and some warn it could be next.
What data do real estate agencies have?
“Despite how invasive these questions can be, renters don’t feel like they have a meaningful choice but to hand over whatever information that is being asked of them because of the fear of not getting the rental.”
How bad would a data breach be?
“If this data was breached, it would expose even more information about many renters than was exposed in the Optus breach.
But they can also use stolen data to commit further crimes such as:
- Using credit card details for fraudulent purchases
- Applying for credit cards or loans in your name
- Accessing retirement funds or other financial accounts
- Using your health insurance to access medical care
- Applying for fraudulent identification such as driver’s licenses or passports
- Renting properties in your name
There is also the risk that criminals can commit crimes and use stolen identification when arrested.
What can real estate agencies do to protect sensitive data?
“And within Google itself, there’s a secondary vault, where everything is encrypted. And then there’s a Google Vault, which all Google business partners have, which is secondary encryption as well.”
“Although all agencies have their own data breach protection systems in place, the REIV offers education – including webinars – on how to identify and protect against cyberattacks,” the spokesperson said.