Real estate industry grapples with cyberattack on Rapattoni

Property data listing host has been down for several days

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Real estate agents in the Bay Area and various parts of the country are facing significant challenges as they grapple with the aftermath of a cyberattack on a Southern California data host for property listing information.

The attack, which occurred several days ago, has left agents scrambling for workarounds to navigate the disruption to their marketing and property sales efforts, North Bay Business Journal reported.

“It’s paralyzed the real estate industry,” Coldwell Banker agent Peg King of Petaluma told the outlet. “We can’t add listings. We can’t make price changes. We have no idea how to show properties unless we try to figure out who has something listed.”

Agents are unable to add new property listings, make price adjustments, or even access the latest property information for showings. This has resulted in confusion among agents, like King, who are left unsure about which properties are still available for sale due to the outage. The situation is further complicated by the possibility that some properties might have been sold since the attack occurred.

The Santa Rosa-based Bay Area Real Estate Information Service (BAREIS), serving brokerages across multiple counties, reported that a cyberattack on a vendor, Rapattoni Corporation, has prevented agents from logging into their systems. 

The attack has affected approximately 8,200 users of BAREIS. Similar outages have been reported by other multiple listing services such as the San Francisco MLS, adding to the scope of the disruption.

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Reports suggest that Rapattoni Corporation, the affected data host, fell victim to a ransomware attack. This form of cybercrime encrypts the victim’s data and demands a ransom for its release. 

The FBI is reportedly investigating the attack.  A Rapatonni official said employees are working around the clock to restore service.

While global cybercrime involving cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has seen a decrease this year, ransomware attacks and payouts are on the rise. A report by Chainanalysis, a cryptocurrency data firm, indicated that ransomware attackers extorted around $449.1 million by June, potentially marking their second most profitable year after 2021, the outlet reported.

K.B. Holmgren, the CEO of BAREIS, said that the outage began on Tuesday night and that updates from Rapattoni are being received multiple times daily. However, there is no estimated timeline for full system recovery. In the meantime, BAREIS has established a temporary solution on its secure website for users to update and add listings manually.

Despite the challenges posed by this cyberattack, Holmgren emphasized the importance of relying on real estate professionals for accurate information, given the current limitations of online sources. 

— Ted Glanzer