On Wednesday, in response to recent Ransomware attacks across over 150 countries around the world including the publicized DocuSign hack reported, Fitch Ratings issued a press release reminding information technology (IT) companies in the mortgage finance industry the importance of remaining vigilant in the ever-present need for regular security testing.
Because of the sheer quantity of money that flows through the mortgage finance industry, as well as the sensitivity of information that could be mined by potential hackers, servers will forever be at a high risk of breach. Names, social security numbers, telephone numbers, emails, and addresses are all easily exploited pieces of information that could be targeted by hackers and malware. In addition, new information has been brought to light that certain malware will invade the host computer and use vital resources to mine for certain types of cryptocurrency without the user’s knowledge. Fitch Ratings continues to monitor third party IT infrastructure to ensure appropriate oversight of security, including proper staffing of qualified employees and timeliness of both software and hardware updates and testing.
Fitch Reporting has reached out to all servicers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa that handle both commercial and residential mortgages, and they have reported that operations have not been effected. Some said that additional security measures have been put in place to help prevent further attacks. This, according to Fitch’s official report, “is consistent with our view . . . that servicers should have appropriate plans in place to maintain critical systems which might come under threat from an emergency.”
It is of the upmost importance that IT departments remain up to date on the latest trends regarding security risks to their data centers. If threats arise faster than the company can prevent them, those responsible for safeguarding the sensitive personal information of mortgage holders will forever be playing catch up.