How Affordable Housing Developers Can Mitigate Ransomware Threats

October 17, 2022

At a glance

  • The main takeaway: The fastest-growing threat facing businesses today is ransomware. Affordable housing developers need to be vigilant in preventing these threats from affecting their organizations.
  • Impact on your business: Below, we explore how developers can tackle ransomware head on, from identifying indicators of compromise to real-time response tactics.
  • Next steps: With deep expertise in the affordable housing sector and in cybersecurity, Aprio can help advance your security programs to stay ahead of potential cyberattacks.

Schedule a consultation with Aprio today

The full story:

Ransomware continues to be one of the fastest-growing threats in the security space, and the landscape is changing quickly and drastically. Though all organizations are at risk of falling prey to attackers, the affordable housing sector is one of the most vulnerable. That’s because developers often possess vast amounts of personally identifiable information (PII) on the residents and communities they serve, plus virtually conducted financial transactions, making them attractive targets for cyberattacks like ransomware.

Today’s cyber thieves and attackers are more sophisticated than ever before. Threat actors have proven they are professionals at playing the long game, taking small, calculated steps and evolving their techniques for the ultimate prize of gaining full access to networks and infrastructures. Last year, we learned that large businesses like Colonial Pipeline can fall hard for a ransomware attack; that attack ultimately impacted the flow of oil across the US. And make no mistake, threat actors aren’t slowing down.

So, what does ransomware look like, and how can affordable housing developers stay vigilant? We break down three of the most common ransomware attacks developers are experiencing today:


Phishing continues to be the primary channel for threat actors to obtain sensitive information. It’s a common method in which a hacker will plant a seed to a larger attack to deploy ransomware within a company’s network. While many of us were forgetting to mute ourselves on Zoom these past two years, threat actors were taking advantage of the mass shift to remote work, the adoption of Office 365 and other internet-hosted software. Everything quickly moved to the cloud, where data is available universally. When systems and infrastructures were internally hosted, hackers had to try harder to get onto networks. Now, everything is directly connected to the internet, making it easier for threat actors to gain access and compromise a network.

Hackers’ most-used method is email phishing, which masquerades as a trusted entity to trick the end user (the human) into providing login credentials. While offering training to your entire organization is still important, it only gets you so far. The right tools can make a world of difference — such as setting up multifactor authentication for all internet-based software and an advanced threat protection tool for email, which can help in the defense against phishing.


Malware encompasses a variety of malicious software, but essentially it is different versions of the same thing used to gain access to your systems. In some aspect, every business is familiar with malware. Most companies have addressed malware generally by installing some version of an antivirus software on all their devices.

Don’t stop at antivirus software, though; it’s just as important to evaluate vulnerability management. Many organizations struggle to identify vulnerabilities and prioritize remediation efforts. A successful vulnerability program has total endpoint visibility and automation capabilities to scan entire systems to rank vulnerabilities and reduce risk.


Hacking is a broad concept in terms of a cyberattack, yet it has the biggest exposure because thus far it has not been traditionally addressed. Most companies lack proper security monitoring and visibility, leaving them exposed to hackers attacking their operating systems. To properly address hacking and gain visibility into potential malicious activity, developers need to collect a lot of data. Try these approaches:

  • Deploy end-point technology protection across workstations and servers, and collect sufficient data from cloud environments and infrastructures to analyze and determine the indicators of compromise.
  • Run advanced, automated detectors with capabilities backed by strong counter threat intelligence and machine learning capabilities.
  • Use active, 24/7 security analysis and response capability.

The bottom line

Nobody is immune to cyberattacks. By introducing best practices, adopting the right tools, properly patching your vulnerabilities, and gaining better security monitoring and visibility, you can spot attacks sooner and reduce the impact of security incidents. Aprio can help advance your development company’s security programs to stay ahead of potential cyberattacks.

Schedule a consultation with our team today.

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About the Author

Alison Fossyl

Alison specializes in the audit requirements of the construction and real estate industries, with deep experience in commercial real estate, multifamily housing and affordable housing. She works extensively with corporations, S-corporations and partnerships in the real estate space.

(770) 353-7115