August 18, 2023
San Francisco and Marin's real estate agents and appraisers faced an unexpected challenge when a ransomware attack disrupted Rapattoni MLS, the region's primary property listings database.
Our very own Payton Stiewe, co-founder of Artemis Real Estate, shared his firsthand experience and insights on navigating this digital blackout with Fortune magazine. For an in-depth look at the situation and Payton's perspective, click here to read the full article. A summary is below.
San Francisco's real estate market, the epicenter of the tech world, recently experienced an unprecedented setback. A cyberattack on Rapattoni MLS, the primary property listings database, has left the city's real estate community grappling with the challenges of a digital blackout. Among those affected is Payton Stiewe, a prominent San Francisco Real Estate Agent, who shared his experience with Fortune magazine.
The cyberattack, which took place on August 8, targeted Rapattoni, the Los Angeles-based software company responsible for the MLS used by San Francisco and Marin real estate agents & appraisers. The aftermath has been chaotic, with no clear timeline for service restoration. This has left agents, including Stiewe, without access to a pivotal tool in their trade.
MLSs are integral to the real estate industry. They are private databases where agents post listings complete with photos, descriptions, open house timings, and contact details. Popular platforms like Zillow and Redfin source their information from these databases. The current attack's origin and motive remain unclear, with speculation around it being a potential ransomware attack.
Payton's candid remark to Fortune, "It was a real sh*t show," encapsulates the frustration and challenges faced by the real estate community. With the digital platform inaccessible, Stiewe and his firm resorted to more traditional methods of operation. This involved making phone calls to fellow agents, initiating email campaigns, and leveraging social media to showcase properties.
However, every cloud has a silver lining. Stiewe highlighted a positive outcome from this ordeal – the strengthened camaraderie within the San Francisco real estate community. He mentioned, "I’ve gotten more phone calls from my colleagues in the last week and a half than the whole first part of this year."
While San Francisco is in the limelight due to this cyberattack, it's essential to note that Rapattoni's reach extends beyond the city. The company serves markets across the U.S., including areas like greater California, Northeastern Indiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio. With an estimated 56,000 subscribers solely dependent on Rapattoni's platform, the implications of this attack are vast.
Rapattoni's standing in the industry has been waning over the past five years. As the fifth largest MLS service provider in the U.S., its market share has been on a decline. Clint Skutchan, an executive at T3 Sixty, pointed out that Rapattoni's technological shortcomings might be a factor. The company's outdated user interface and challenges in transitioning its data to an API have affected its mobile experience quality.
Skutchan's observation to Fortune is particularly poignant: "If you’re not keeping up with modern technology to serve clients’ needs, that could be corollary to having some exposure [to cyber attacks]."
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