/Property investors, how safe is your data?

Cyber attacks are on the rise, and the criminals behind these attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated in how they implement these attacks, more and more attacks are targeted towards real estate agencies.

There are two issues for investors;

  • Your Personal Information
  • Your Money

Your Personal information

Identity theft is sadly a part of life these days, in your daily activities you can ensure that you take precautions to protect your personal information. But, how cautious is your real estate agency when it comes to protecting your personal data.

Criminals can use highly sophisticated programs and algorithms to scan the internet looking specifically at SME’s (small to medium businesses) which have specific security weaknesses like unencrypted data or open web ports, whereupon they can gain access to your agency’s systems.

What protection does your agency have in place for your data from any ransomware attacks and importantly what is their process should a breech occur, and your personal information is shared to a third party. If a ransomeware attack occurs, generally the agency is locked out of their operating system which effectively means the business comes to a standstill. No funds can be paid, possibly no documents can be read, effectively crippling a company until the ransom is paid or authorities have intervened.

With data breaches become more commonplace, it is critical that the company you use to manage your investment properties or sell your properties have a comprehensive understanding of cyber attacks, how to avoid them and what to do if one should occur.

Your money

As hackers become more advanced in their abilities to breech payment systems and bank accounts, the increase in money theft is on the rise. Hackers can enter your agency’s payment system and stay there silently for months while they monitor their payment habits. We have heard of agency’s that have had the full holding deposits of properties being stealthy transferred out of their trust account and into cyber space leaving agency’s hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Real estate agency’s use Trust Accounts to hold funds on behalf of owners. Often there are large amounts of money being held prior to being disbursed to owners which generally happens at the end of the month or bi-monthly. These patterns can be tracked by hackers then used against them leaving the Agency vulnerable and your money gone.

At Property Alchemy we do not use Trust Accounts, all rental payments are made directly to our investors. By not holding funds on behalf of our owners we reduce the exposure of fraud or theft to you.

There are cyber attack insurance policies available as well as a multitude of other protective measures agency’s can put in place. Unfortunately there is no one silver bullet, real estate agency’s must deploy multiple initiatives to keep ahead of these hackers and their advanced technology.

Earlier this year the Notifiable Data Breaches Bill was passed establishing a mandatory data breach notification scheme. This basically means, where a business is covered by the Privacy Act they must notify any individuals affected by a data breach that is likely to result in serious harm. So, if there is a cyber attack or breach on your real estate company’s system you must be informed.

Talk to your real estate agency about what hardware and software they have in place to counteract any attacks on their operating systems. What governance do they have around storing data, how they pay suppliers, receive and disburse funds? Do they have a security check list that ensures every security measure is adhered to throughout the daily course of business? As much as you need peace of mind that your personal information and money is secure it’s a great reminder for companies to review their systems and processes. In this day and age you can never be too careful.

If you have any questions around data security or you want specific questions answered please reach out to us.

We are here when you need us.


As co-founder of Sydney-based property management agency Property Alchemy, it is my goal to ensure our clients (both property investors and tenants) experience property management services well beyond their expectations. From a personal point-of-view, I make it my responsibility to identify the best opportunities from investment to tenancy selection while mitigating and carefully managing risk along the journey. Our end goal is positive financial outcomes for our clients with minimal risk and maximum enjoyment!