Data cybersecurity

The “Walking Data” Apocalypse

No one is safe.

All of us are vulnerable to online data breaches, not unlike regular humans trying to outwit relentless zombies in the hit series “The Walking Dead.” In both cases, the only ones who make it out unscathed have learned from previous mistakes.

You might think I’m talking about retail cyber security, given recent fiascos at Target, Home Depot and so on. But I’ll say it again: no one is safe, and learning from others’ mistakes is essential to defending against data breaches.

The mortgage closing industry, for one, could be severely harmed if hackers were able to steal its data.

Mortgage Cybersecurity Is Lacking

Dan Jones, vice president of technology at Churchill Mortgage in Tennessee, said in a Mortgage Professional article that it is essential for the mortgage industry to evaluate the strength of current cybersecurity tools. “It is just a matter of time before someone gets hit,” he said. Another industry leader, Eric Robichaud, agreed. “These continued, massive breaches are demonstrating that nobody is immune.”

These doom and gloom quotes are reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic world seen in movies. But just as certain rules allowed survivors to escape the clutches of the undead in “Zombieland,” reliable cybersecurity is possible for those who are proactive:

My “Cyber-Zombie” Survival Rules:

Cardio

Keep up with current cybercrime techniques. Read up on how hackers are doing it.

The Double Tap

Don’t assume a computer virus has been eliminated. Double check with your IT department. The IT Department needs to have measures in place to mitigate this. Employees should not be the ones to speak up and say, “Hey, I think I have a virus.” By then, it’s too late.

Beware of Bathrooms

Don’t put vulnerable information in an insecure, unencrypted location.

Check the Backseat

Audit your back-end code for any viruses or bugs on a consistent basis, such as every quarter.

Train Your Own

This is one that I came up with. If you don’t train the people you work with to be as vigilant and careful as you are, then they are all more likely to “get the virus.” Dan Jones said, “We’ve got to do a good job of training people in the first week they’re hired about security,” adding that revisiting this training throughout the year is crucial as new threats emerge, and to ensure it is not forgotten.

The mortgage closing industry needs to ensure that they are safe from the “walking data” apocalypse.

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