Airbnb Updates Security

By Jennifer Felten

Airbnb has been in the news lately, but not for good reasons.  Criminals have started hacking the accounts of highly rated Airbnb users.  They then are able to conduct a short-term lease on properties using someone else’s account.  While they are in the unit, they rob the place.  Other criminals have taken the opposite approach.  They have hacked or spoofed a reputable person posting a property for rent.  They then trick people looking for a place to rent into giving them money.

There are three main ways the criminals have targeted Airbnb (and other service providers) accounts.  The first is by “Password dumps”.  This is when a large company has a security breach and a large number of accounts have their information stolen.  Since many people use the same user name and passwords for all of their online accounts, the criminals may take data from a different company and apply it to the Airbnb account to see if that allows them access.  Even though Airbnb has not reported any data breach, since other companies have, it may still compromise your account if you don’t change your passwords often.  The second method is “phishing”.  The criminals will send unsuspecting people a link to a fake website that looks just like the legitimate website.  They ask the people to enter their personal information, which the criminals then use against them.  The third method is the use of “malware”.  People’s computers may become infected with malicious software that can capture keystrokes, including usernames and passwords.  Once the person logs into their account, the information is sent to the criminals.

To thwart the criminal threat, Airbnb has added “multi-factor authentication”.  This requires a user to enter a separate code when they try to access their account from a device that is different than what they have on record.  They are also implementing new forms of account alerts to help users to be more aware of what’s happening with their account.  Cybercrime is a growing “industry”.  The public needs to become more aware of this threat and do what they can to combat it.  It’s good to see companies are being proactive in this regard.

Jennifer Felten

Jennifer Felten, Esq., Relaw Ms. Felten specializes in representing both individuals and legal entities, providing representation and guidance on a variety of real estate related matters.  Relaw APC 699 Hampshire Road, Suite 105 Westlake Village, CA  91361 US Phone: (805) 265-1031 or email her at: [email protected]

Speaking Engagements:

Friday, May 19, 2017 – Chino Valley Real Estate Professionals

For inquiries or questions about this event, please email [email protected].

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