‘Days, not weeks’: North Bay real estate listings firm adds workarounds as testing begins on outage fix

It’s been nearly two weeks since a cyberattack left tens of thousands of agents, appraisers and other real estate professionals without a key online tool for marketing and selling homes. Now, operators of North Bay and San Francisco multiple listing services are prepping to have the restored systems come back online.|

Update Tuesday, Aug. 22, 12 p.m.: Bay Area Real Estate Information Service, or BAREIS, told its users Tuesday morning that it is aiming for users to start being able to log into the restored multiple listing service online system on Wednesday.

On Monday evening, the service told users in an email that new property listings and changes to existing ones would have to be put back into the system for Aug. 6–8, the three days leading up to cyberattack late Aug. 8. Rapattoni Corp., the host of 22 MLSes nationwide affected by the attack, wasn’t able to restore the rest of the data, according to the Santa Rosa-based MLS.

Attempts to reach Rapattoni to comment on the outage have been unsuccessful. The company hasn’t provided an update on the incident since Aug. 12.

BAREIS’s Monday evening email said that after users are able to log into the system again, there will be a roughly four-hour period for updates to be made to existing information before the MLS resumes sending listing details to public real estate websites.

It’s been nearly two weeks since a cyberattack locked tens of thousands of real estate professionals in the North Bay and certain markets nationwide without access to a key online tool for marketing homes for sale and funding purchases.

Bay Area Real Estate Information Service, the multiple listing service for Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Solano and Mendocino counties better known as BAREIS, on Monday morning told its roughly 8,200 brokers, agents, appraisers and other users that they will be able to once again add and update important property information “within days, not weeks.”

This follows a BAREIS update Friday morning that the MLS data would be restored over the weekend. That would allow for testing to begin before access to users is restored, the organization said in that message. BAREIS officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

Without MLS access for updates to listings for price changes and the status of the sale, public websites that syndicate listings from the affected services show outdated information. Listing services also provide private ways for agents to communicate purchase offers and coordinate property showings and tours.

The outage of MLSes for the North Bay, San Francisco and 20 other regions of the country resulted from a ransomware attack late Aug. 8 on a vendor of Rapattoni Corp., a Southern California-based company that hosts the listing services’ data. Such attacks involve a ruse to infiltrate an organization’s data and digitally lock it, demanding a ransom to unlock it.

Rapattoni acknowledged the attack in X (formerly Twitter) and Facbook posts Aug. 12 but hasn’t provided further updates. The company hasn’t returned calls for comment.

In the days after the outage, BAREIS, San Francisco Association of Realtors and operators of other affected MLSes rolled out workarounds for users to continue to market and appraise properties.

In the first week of the outage, NorCal MLS Alliance, a group of seven Northern California listing services that share each other’s data every 15 minutes, provided access to archived North Bay and San Francisco listing details up to the time of the attack via Sacramento’s MetroList.

Then last Wednesday and Friday, the North Bay and San Francisco MLSes rolled out the ability for their users to enter new listings and make updates via San Francisco-based Zenlist that were then sent immediately to the real estate website Zillow.

Until the Zenlist option, BAREIS has been providing a private, temporary options through its website for users to add and update listings, and notify other agents about tours and open houses.

Another option for archived listing details for affected MLSes not in the Northern California data-sharing alliance is Realtors Property Resource. Created by the National Association of Realtors in 2008 as a parcel-based rather than listing-based tool for the organization’s roughly 1.5 million members, it now has licensed data from the over 500 MLSes across the country, receiving it every 15 minutes, according to Jeff Young, chief operating officer and general manager of the venture.

So it has about 97% of the listing data going back up to 15 years from the 22 affected MLSes up to the time of the cyberattack, Young said. Changes can’t be made to the listings, but details can be viewed.

Because the impacted MLSes have told their users about the option, the association has received requests from real estate appraisers to get temporary access to the system until the MLSes are fully back online.

“They do need to know what has happened (with listings) for the past five, 10, 15 days, but more than that they need comparables,” Young said, referring to details about recently sold properties with similar market characteristics.

The national real estate trade group is currently working with government-sponsored mortgage holders such as Fannie Mae to allow Realtors Property Resource to be used as a stop-gap appraisal tool, Young said.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Reach him at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4256.

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