Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

Ransomware Hit Disrupts Real Estate Property Listings in US

Rapattoni-Hosted Multiple Listing Services Can't Add or Update Property Information
Ransomware Hit Disrupts Real Estate Property Listings in US
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Property listings nationwide are being disrupted due to an apparent ransomware attack.

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Real estate agents' ability to list or update property information has been compromised by an attack on California-based data services company Rapattoni, which hosts multiple listing services.

The real estate industry relies on regional MLS databases so different brokers can share information with each other. The information fuels listing websites and allows cooperating brokers to market each other's properties.

An attack on Aug. 8 "caused a system outage and we are working diligently to get systems restored as soon as possible," Rapattoni reported Sunday in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter. "We still do not have an ETA at this time."

As of Tuesday afternoon, Rapattoni's production system remained offline. The company has not stated whether it was hit by ransomware.

Multiple regional MLS providers rely on Rapattoni's services to identify new properties coming on the market, update home listings, and bring together buyers and sellers to facilitate offers and track purchase details, as well as track commissions for listing agents and the agent who secures a sale.

Since the attack disrupted their ability to do that automatically, many regional MLS providers have fallen back on manual processes.

Cincy MLS, which supports 7,500 real estate agents in Cincinnati and which is no longer accessible due to the attack on Rapattoni, created a Facebook page where agents can manually share listing information, local ABC affiliate WCPO reported.

House listing apps such as Zillow have also been affected by the attack and forced to input data manually, the broadcaster reported.

Even a few days without being able to list a property can have a financial impact on real estate agents, Sonoma-based broker Gerrett Snedaker told California's North Bay Business Journal.

The impact of Rapattoni's outage is being mitigated in the region in part thanks to data sharing between an alliance of seven MLS entities in Northern California, which synchronize data every 15 minutes, it reported.

When the Bay Area Real Estate Information Service - aka BAREIS - and San Francisco MLS entities were disrupted by the Rapattoni outage, alliance member MetroList Services in Sacramento was able to disconnect its data center from Rapattoni - after it gave them a heads-up - and has since provided BAREIS and San Francisco with access to archived listings, North Bay Business Journal reported.

About the Author

Mathew J. Schwartz

Mathew J. Schwartz

Executive Editor, DataBreachToday & Europe, ISMG

Schwartz is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in magazines, newspapers and electronic media. He has covered the information security and privacy sector throughout his career. Before joining Information Security Media Group in 2014, where he now serves as the executive editor, DataBreachToday and for European news coverage, Schwartz was the information security beat reporter for InformationWeek and a frequent contributor to DarkReading, among other publications. He lives in Scotland.

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