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SFAR Target of "phishing scams"

Over the past 24 hours, SFAR members have been the target of a series of invalid emails called "phishing scams". These emails are carefully made to look like legitimate messages from the organization being attacked. Often the message will use corporate logos, identifying information (such as spoofed 'sender' email addresses) and recognizable names in order to lure in victims. 

Please note that these messages are NOT coming from SFAR servers, or our offices or vendors. The emails appear to origniate from email servers in South America (Columbia) and contain a link to either a PDF, or Zip file that can infect Windows Computers with a virus or ransomware. 

How can I spot that it's a phishing attack?

When you hover over the link in the email, it will not look like a www.sfrealtors.com URL, and the email contains many errors that should alert you to the fact that is not from us:

 

2016-05-18 18 42 24-FW  San Francisco Association of Realtors - Internet Explorer

 

Has "the server" been hacked?

Valid question, regarding "the server". Unfortunately it's not that simple. The two main databases: our membership system and the actual MLS itself, are hosted by third parties and we have verified that they have not been compromised. Inside the office at SFAR on Grove St, we don't keep the data that would be used for this kind of attack. Nonetheless we are checking our corporate network (Domain Controllers, etc..) anyway to ensure we are not exposed.
 
The problem almost certainly stems from the use of MLS data feeds we provide to vendors and brokers. We carefully vet vendors, but cannot vet each and every broker feed that we provide. These data feeds by necessity contain the identifying information for agents (email addresses, phone numbers, etc...).

We are examing ways of reviewing the security of the feeds, but unfortunately because a list has been extracted already, shutting off the feeds would simply hinder regular commerce. 

What can I do to remove the virus?

At this time, it appears that only Windows computers are vulnerable. If you do not have current Anti-Virus software installed, your best bet is to use a web-scanner (try http://housecall.trendmicro.com) to remove the virus and then install a good AV client (AVG, TrentMicro, etc...) after the virus has been removed. There is little SFAR can do directly, as the attack is not coming from us.

What can I to protect myself in the future?

Make sure, as a general practice, that anytime you receive an invoice (from any company) that does not look identical to prior invoices or comes at a time when you are not expecting to be invoiced, that you hover over any links to see where they are pointed. If the links do not match the name of the company sending you the email, use caution. If there is ever a question, don't hesitate to phone us, or email us, first.

We are very sorry that this attack may have affected you, and are in the process of a full security audit of our systems just in case we were the source of the leaked email addresses (at this time, we have zero reason to believe any of our systems internally were compromised). We will keep all of the members up to date as we investigate and follow up with authorities at https://www.us-cert.gov/report-phishing.

 

Jay Pepper-Martens
Director of MLS & IT for SFAR

 

 

2016 Economic and Housing Market Forecast

Economic Forecast 04-06-16 Oscar Wei Page 01

 

On April 6, 2016 we held our 2016 Economic and Housing Market Forecast event with Oscar Wei, Senior Economist with the California Association of REALTORS®, presenting the information. Click here to get a copy of the slides that were presented.

SFAR/SFCA Forms Eliminated on February 15, 2016

The Standard Forms Committee identified the following list of stand-alone forms that are either redundant or have been incorporated into SFAR's General Information for Buyers and Sellers of Real Property in San Francisco form or the CAR's Statewide Buyer and Seller form and are therefore scheduled for elimination from the SFCA Library on zipForm on February 15, 2016.  
 
Eliminated forms

Updated design for SFARMLS homepage

SFARMLS and Rapattoni have heard your requests for a facelift to the MLS Home page and are proud to announce the release of this UI update!

The desktop MLS has been redesigned to provide a modern look and feel, complete with new color schemes, icons, and responsive functionality. As part of this redesign, the Home page now features a responsive design that fits content to the size of the MLS window. Home page modules will now dynamically fill all available space across the screen, so the Home page is no longer limited to four columns of modules. As with the old Home page, you can drag and drop columns to rearrange their sort order and the MLS will retain your selections for subsequent logons.

MLS-UI-Facelift

In addition, the Welcome module has been updated to use an additional row of vertical space on the Home page when necessary, automatically adjusting its size to better fit the content posted by us here at SFARMLS. We will be keeping the "5 orange buttons" at the top though, so if you're used to clicking there for Statistics, to Email Us, or to pay your bill, you will have no trouble finding them.

Please note that in order for the redesigned desktop MLS interface to display properly, you may need to clear the browser cache on your PC or mobile device. If you require further assistance with clearing the cache, please contact the Rapattoni Help Desk at 866-730-7114, or email us at SFARMLS (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for instructions.

If you would like to see the Coming Soon video provided by Rapattoni, you can click here.

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