More than 21,000 real estate agents and brokers across Central Florida will have added security when logging into their multiple listing service, the Mid-Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service said this week.

The MLS has implemented an advanced authentication system in which members will use a security token called the MLS LoginKey to replace the traditional method of a user ID and password.

The token is small enough to fit on a key chain and features a window that displays six randomly selected numbers that change every 60 seconds. The numbers are entered to access the system along with a personal four-digit PIN created by the user.

The combination of the LoginKey and the PIN works like an ATM card, combining something the user knows (personal PIN) with something the user has (the randomly-generated numbers). 

Security of real estate data has become a hot-button topic among high-level executives and industry organizations now that the Internet has become a huge medium for exchanging real estate information. More people are aware of problems that can arise from lax security of sensitive real estate data. As a rich vein of electronic information for home buyers and sellers grows online, the real estate industry is taking a close look at guarding its own digital goldmine of property listings information.

(Read Inman News’ four-part series, “Securing real estate data on the Web.”)

Commenting on the change, Kim Goodwin of Goodwin Realty and Associates and president of MFRMLS said the system is expected to dramatically reduce unauthorized access to the MFRMLS system. “The old method of using a user ID and password was far too vulnerable to abuse. Individuals and organizations that weren’t authorized to access the MLS database were violating the information rights of our members. Starting today, MFRMLS members are being invited to register and activate their personal LoginKey using a convenient online process,” said Goodwin.

The LoginKey is part of a broader security initiative called MFR-Secure designed to improve MFRMLS’s information security policies and controls. MFRMLS selected Secure Content Group, an identity management and information security consulting firm in Reston, Va., to design the MFR-Secure program and implement the authentication system.

The authentication system is based on RSA SecurID two-factor authentication technology from RSA Security. 

MFRMLS anticipates the LoginKey will eventually be used by its members to access several other local real estate applications and services.

“Our security goals are to effectively manage our risks while providing greater convenience, lower costs and higher service quality for our members, and helping ensure that they maintain the trust of their customers. Today’s announcement is a major step toward achieving those goals,” explained Goodwin.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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