MLS system in LA hardened for cyberattacks

NorCal agents can’t access listings for nearly a week and “don’t know what is going on”

MLS System in LA Hardened for Cyberattacks
VestaPlus' Ryan Ole Haas (Getty, The Align RE)

The cyberattack on MLS provider Rapattoni Corp. that has crippled real estate listings in Northern California and elsewhere raises the question of security for other regional online services.

Investigations continue for the attack on Westlake Village-based Rapattoni, which has rendered Northern California agents unable to access listings for about a week.

One of the most prominent companies which runs real estate listings in Los Angeles, called The MLS, hasn’t suffered a cyberattack, said Ryan Ole Hass, who serves on the board of VestaPlus, the company which provides software for The MLS.

VestaPlus developed its software in-house and counts on the individuality of its programming to thwart cybercriminals. The MLS services more than 17,000 agents and handles listings in much of Los Angeles ranging from Malibu to Inglewood, and including Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

A third party also runs frequent audits systems for The MLS. If it is attacked by cyber criminals, the system can react quickly, Hass said.

“We believe in a couple of hours we can get data back up with our internal protocols,” Hass explained. He also conceded that no security system is perfect; the threat of cybercrime is ever present. 

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Hass serves as the 2023 vice chair of the National Association of Realtors MLS Forum. He also is the owner/ broker at Align RE in Los Angeles.

A Rapattoni email sent to its customers Aug. 14 said resuming service has been a struggle.

“All technical resources at our disposal are continuing to work around the clock until this matter is resolved. We still do not have an ETA at this time,” said Kimberly Proudfoot, Rapattoni’s director of support.

Media reports quoted a San Francisco Board of Realtors statement with the forecast that service will be restored later this week.

Joseph Gartland Moore, a San Francisco agent, said the cyberattack has choked his business. 

“We can look at what was available last week. We don’t know what is going on this week, except by word of mouth or email, or an  email list,” he said. Gartland Moore is affiliated with Sotheby’s International Realty.

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