As if the Bay Area housing market isn’t already chaotic enough, a crucial software service used by real estate agents to manage property listings has been hit by a cyberattack, causing a major meltdown for the industry.
For nearly two weeks, real estate agents have been grappling with the fallout of the attack on Rapattoni Corporation, a Southern California-based company that provides property listing data to multiple listing services (known as “MLS”) used by realtor associations nationwide, as the SF Business Times reported. And there’s no end in sight yet.
The breach has reportedly paralyzed several workflows across the industry. Agents rely on Rapattoni's services to input and edit new listings, which automates the process of updating and sharing property information with buyers. Now, they’re apparently forced to manually update hundreds of listings and even print out the information a la early 2000s Mapquest.
Rapattoni Corporation, in a tweet last week, acknowledged the cyberattack and noted that they were actively investigating the breach. The company mentioned that they were working tirelessly to restore the system but couldn't provide a specific timeline for when services would be fully operational again.
"It is wreaking havoc everywhere," David Bellings, a long-time real estate agent, told the Chronicle. Damon Knox, President of the San Francisco Association of Realtors, added that it’s an inconvenience and there might be financial repercussions.
The incident has triggered a federal investigation, and Rapattoni’s insurance carriers are in talks with the hackers to try to get the software operating again, as the RealDeal reported.
It’s unclear what type of cyberattack hit Rapattoni, but ArsTechnica reported that it’s likely a ransomware attack, in which hackers access the business’ network and private data, then demand payment in exchange for unlocking the data or not publishing it. That could lead to a whole host of even bigger issues for real estate sellers, buyers, and agents.
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