One day after the Real Trends 500 list of the top brokerages in the country was hacked and taken offline, Real Trends President Steve Murray warned the attackers “may still be lurking.” On Thursday, the Real Trends 500 was back up and functioning.

Steve Murray

Steve Murray | Credit: Real Trends

“I don’t want to say too much about what we are doing about this, they may still be lurking,” Murray told Inman.

Hours after the new rankings from the real estate analytics and consulting firm debuted Wednesday, a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) hit the rankings, giving users wanting to pursue the list an error message. Real Trends’ website still functioned, but just the section devoted to the 500 list was offline.

“Both our outside web host, our own team and a few other outside experts that we employed got it back up and are getting solid traffic, however, we are not pushing hard yet until we get other measures in place that should be done by tomorrow.”

Murray said he can’t yet measure the financial harm caused by the DDoS attack, but the Real Trends 500 set new records for the download of the report, which was distributed in a .pdf file by email after the site went down.

Last year, over 11,000 people downloaded the 2018 report and on Wednesday Real Trends clocked over 21,000 downloads alone.

“So it was a great day for us after all is said and done,” Murray said.

Real Trends is now taking steps to invest in even stronger protection and backups, expected to cost “not a small amount of money,” Murray said.

The company is now mounting a full effort to track who might be behind the attack. Murray said he was told by outside cybersecurity experts that they can track the attack, but it might not be possible to get enough evidence to prove it in a court of law.

“We are going to pursue until they tell us there is no more to be found,” Murray said. “We have our own suspicions based on other factors we learned yesterday but I am keeping our findings to myself right now.”

Murray also had a message for the attackers.

“To the attackers, first, shame on you,” Murray said. “Second, thanks for helping us set new records for interaction with the industry.”

Email Patrick Kearns

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