Ways that Technology Can Ruin Our Business

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CalBRE License #01490977
http://activerain.com/droplet/4YTH

Ways that Technology Can Ruin Our Business

 

I am far from a data security expert. I know it and admit it willingly. But in this day and age I think we have to keep up with the issues that affect our online security and that of our computers, and potentially our businesses. No doubt you have seen some of the posts from Robert Siciliano  who often shares information we need to know about identity theft and online security and related matters. If you haven’t I recommend you follow him. Here’s his latest post on Social Engineering Scams.

 

Anyhow, on to what I learned yesterday!

 

CRS logoCRS offers some excellent education through a series of webinars, some free for members, some not, but the one I listened to yesterday, “Top 10 Ways Technology can Ruin Your Business” (with Alex Camelio, Craig Grant, and Juanita McDowell) offered some great tips and I thought I would share just a few of them.

 

They will be presenting at CRS Sellabration on February 9 in Phoenix for those CRS members who are going.

 

We all know viruses and malware can really ruin your day, and your computers functioning.  But did you know there are about 90,000 NEW viruses and malware every day? Imagine keeping up with that! Check out www.Map.norsecorp.com to see where viruses are coming from and who they are targeting – the US is far above and beyond the more targeted country. Scary stuff.

 

Indeed hacking today is like organized crime – they have a pretty sophisticated system and network of people working to find ways to hack into business and private computers and make money…the big companies have suffered (e.g., target, Chase, TJMaxx, The New York Times) but the most lucrative are small business and private individuals – about 30,000 hacks PER DAY!

 

Having some anti-virus and malware software is essential. They mentioned AVG, AVAST, Kaspersky and Avira as being the best. And when asked, Malwarebytes was a 5th.

 

Hacking is big businessPasswords may be the #1 flaw and the way in which hackers can readily gain access to our data and the sites we are on. Seems that lots of people are not very imaginative when it comes to creating passwords – using their names, home addresses, the word “password”, and the same password for multiple sites. The other system people use that is flawed and easy to hack is replacing letters with numbers, say S133P for SLeeP.

 

And with all the sites many of us have, how do you keep track of all these passwords?

 

There are a number of sites called password vaults (e.g., LastPass) that can store all your passwords. Sounds like a great idea, and many people use these…you may be doing so yourself. The downside is that hackers know what these systems are and what they do, and these sites themselves have all been hacked.

 

The speakers shared an interesting system for creating a UNIQUE PASSWORD for every single site, something they strongly recommend. Curious?

 

The strategy is to create a base password that is the same for all sites, a random combination of small and capital letters, numbers and symbols (e.g., 3Pr#%C-), PLUS something psychological that is meaningful only to you about the site, something you can remember about the website. So let’s say for Facebook you might use “zuck,” or “MyGooGlE” for gmail.

 

Another tip which is something we hear about all the time, but perhaps aren’t as careful about as we should be is our online presence, especially on social media. There is a wealth of information hackers can learn about people on Facebook and other sites, and the transparent nature of social media makes this a huge issue. Check your privacy settings. But even so, if you are there in any way, shape or form, there is always a risk.

 

We have an obligation to our clients to preserve the confidentiality of their data, in our emails, and our data storage. Check out Standard of Practice 1-9 of the Code of Ethics. It was recommended that we use cloud storage, such as Carbonite, to maintain security. It’s far better than using an external hard drive that is stored in the same place, in most cases, as your laptop.

 

Do NOT violate copyrightConcerns about copyright issues and plagiarism are nothing new – indeed we read posts on AR all the time about this, including this recent one by Debe Maxwell, "If You Don't Take Great Photos, BUY THEM!"

 

Copyright violations can be very costly, perhaps thousands of dollars, and could hurt you financially and/or damage your reputation. So produce it yourself, or get permission in writing, and use sites that allow royalty-free photos such as Pixabay.

 

And read the small print – that photo you found for free can perhaps only be used for 2 years! And if you edit one of these photos, say by adding a tagline to it, you may have violated the copyright and terms of use

 

There was lots more learning but these were the things that grabbed my attention the most.

 

Any tips you have picked up along the way or experiences you want to share?

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SAN DIEGO Real Estate Agents & Loan Officers
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Tags:
technology tips
jeff dowler crs
data security for realtors
how to preserve confidentiality
crs webinars

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Rainmaker
1,364,441
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Actually had my identity stolen 1.5 years ago between my blog & FB. She still has yet to be sentenced in Georgia.

Jan 19, 2017 02:20 PM #59
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Troy Erickson  - good to hear from you! Yes, I think you are right. It is just getting worse and hackers are getting more clever and sophisticated

Thanks Dagny Eason !! I woud love to connect, either if I get to the CT area or when you get out here to see your family!!

Jeff

Jan 19, 2017 02:41 PM #60
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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Hi Kathy Streib - that's a nice endorsement for Carbonite! It DOES take a lot of work to keep up with it all, doesn't it?

Joan Whitebook  - that is so true. It seems to happen all the time and I'm sure we don't hear about the small businesses and individuals who get hacked, and that's actually a bigger concern, and more lucrative for hackers.

Jeff

Jan 19, 2017 05:39 PM #61
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, CRS  - glad you stopped by. Sorry you missed the webinar. Interesting that you already knew the password trick

Hi Debe Maxwell  Vacations with hubby should ALWAYS come first. So why are you logging in from Aruba???!!! Thanks, though

Jeff

Jan 19, 2017 07:52 PM #62
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Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
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Jeff Dowler  so glad this was featured I missed this ..awesome post  - Thank you

Jan 19, 2017 07:53 PM #63
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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Alexander- Slocum  - great idea! And who wants an open barn door. I have Wifi through my phone for my iPad so I never use public Wifi

Hi Kathleen Luiten Sounds like you are pretty well protected. I think your analogy is a good one!

Jeff

Jan 19, 2017 07:58 PM #64
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089  Sounds like you are in good shape! No doubt we can all improve regarding our pass

Jim Paulson  - that makes a lot of sense to me. No doubt clients appreciate your careful approach 

Jeff

Jan 19, 2017 09:43 PM #65
Rainmaker
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Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for sharing the great tips.

Jan 20, 2017 04:40 AM #66
Rainmaker
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John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Jeff, passwords are becoming a nightmare for me. I have so many and to make them all different is a taxing proposition.

I must find a better way.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Jan 20, 2017 02:15 PM #67
Rainer
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Greg Mona
RE/MAX Platinum Living - Scottsdale, AZ
YOUR Local Real Estate and Design Resource in AZ!

Hi Jeff Dowler! Every time I read a post/article on this subject I get frustrated for several reasons.  First, if these same people who hack into sites with bad intent in mind channeled their effort into doing positive things for us consumers, imagine how much better the web would be! Also, I have to keep a spreadsheet of all of my passwords just to keep track.  Last check I had over 175 of them!  That is ridiculous, but unless you want to use the same password for everything and run the risks you mentioned in your post, it is a necessity to have unique passwords for each site that requires one. Carbonite is on our list for this year's business expenses, so that's a start anyway.

Jan 21, 2017 07:25 AM #68
Rainmaker
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Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent tips and advice as always.  I have a PDF that's hidden on my desktop with passwords, so makes me think I need to print it and keep it in my file drawer!  It's hard to trust some of the sites that store passwords.!

Jan 21, 2017 05:52 PM #69
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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Hi William Johnson  - that's a great question. Not sure. I believe Dropbox has been hacked, as one example. I'll have to ask at the class at Sellabration. Nice to see you!!

That's so true Kat Palmiotti We can't be too careful!

Jeff

Jan 22, 2017 07:42 AM #70
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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Hi Harry F. D'Elia  - I suspect it's happened to all of us, and many may not even be aware! I had one article some years ago that I found plagiarized at least a dozen times.

Hi Nina Hollander  - keeping up with the passwords is a real chore. My list of sites and passwords is almost 200.

Jeff

Jan 22, 2017 07:46 AM #71
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Dorie Dillard  - it really is a shame it has gotten to the point it has but that is the reality and we just have to continue to be vigilant and cautious all the time. The stuff my IT security son-in-law tells me is pretty shocking.

Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers  - thank you kindly!

Jeff

Jan 22, 2017 07:48 AM #72
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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Amen to THAT Chris Lima . My wish as well. Thanks for the compliment!

It's a challenge keeping track of passwords no matter how you do it Nathan Gesner 

Good for you Chuck Carstensen . I have a bunch I need to change if I am going to follow this system!

Jeff

Jan 22, 2017 10:28 AM #73
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Nick & Trudy Vandekar  - thanks for stopping by. It really was a great webinar and well worth the hour of my time.

Jerry Lucas  - thanks for those tips. What you suggest about the base for passwords makes sense, too.

Hi Charita Cadenhead  it IS scary! But I guess I am not surprised! Organized crime it is!

Jeff

Jan 22, 2017 10:31 AM #74
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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Hi Liz and Bill Spear  Wordfence Premium sounds like something worth checking into. Thank you

Good for you Sham Reddy  I agree!

I suspect this is true of many of us here Brad Rachielles . Thank you!

Jeff

Jan 22, 2017 10:35 AM #75
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR  - that would be an interesting blog post. Will you write it?

Sorry to hear Lyn Sims . That's kinda scary! So much for the justice system!

Thank you Hannah Williams . I appreciate your stopping by. I appreciate the compliment.

You are welcome Gita Bantwal 

Jeff

Jan 22, 2017 10:53 AM #76
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
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John Wiley  - oh boy do I hear ya!!

Greg Mona  - I agree with you on that. I have about 200 sites and passwords! I am looking into Carbonite again myself.

The thought of having a bunch of passwords stored on a hackable site makes me a bit nervous, too Jan Green  Thanks for stopping by to comment!

Jeff

Jan 22, 2017 01:35 PM #77
Rainer
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Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Hard part of all this is to not put personal data on these sites.  But we love the convenience of it all.  Tech is great until politicians and hackers get in the mix.  And there's almost no distinction when it comes to the damage they do.

Feb 16, 2017 03:30 PM #78
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