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How to protect your data and money from hackers

Mortgage loan ransomware attacks are skyrocketing, but you have options to protect yourself
Data storage changes lead to more security needs
Mortgage loan ransomware attacks surge
Financial organizations coming under attack
Posted at 11:56 AM, Feb 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-06 13:56:34-05

Hackers are coming after the information associated with mortgage loans for our homes. It's a growing and troubling trend, but your cyber security is something you can prioritize.

Mark Ostrowski is the head of engineering at Check Point Software Technologies. He says these kinds of attacks are happening more often because of how much more financial data is stored digitally now.

"We've moved a long, long ways away from putting money in our mattress."
Mark Ostrowski

The spike in mortgage loan attacks is growing by the day. "What we've seen is an uptick, somewhere around 16% of more attacks being targeted to this industry," Ostrowski said.

Check Point Research found one in every 31 financial banking organizations around the world experience a ransomware attack each week. Ostrowski expects that number to keep growing.

"You've got a lot of high value information that's part of any type of finance."
Mark Ostrowski

While most attacks do fail, there's a lot at stake. "Name, address, and then really the holy grail of like social security numbers, bank account numbers," said Ostrowski, emphasizing that a home is the biggest purchase most people make, which makes mortgage loans especially attractive to hackers.

So how can you protect your identity?

First, be proactive. "Looking at our credit reports," Ostrowski said. "Looking at activity."

If you do find out your information has been stolen, don't hesitate to act. "Think about changing passwords and putting multi-factor authentication," said Ostrowski.

That means checking all of your online accounts, from banking to social media. "Look at your high value assets yourself and then work your way down," Ostrowski explained.

Locking up your digital data is just as important as locking your doors at night. Ostrowski says being proactive can seem frustrating, but it may save you time, effort, and money in the long run. "The homework to do after your identity is stolen is a lot more than doing the precautionary stuff first."