As a widespread MLS outage extends into its second week, the nation’s largest MLS—which was not affected by the apparent ransomware attack that took down Rapattoni-powered databases and services—is reaching out to help those still without MLS access.
A spokesperson for CRMLS said they are offering free MLS access and assistance to non-members who have been locked out of their own MLS until their services are restored—something that still doesn’t have a timeline, with Rapattoni saying they are “making progress,” without an ETA for system restoration.
“Access to an MLS is vital for every agent and broker, as it offers the best real estate listing information and the most complete set of services to buy, sell and close deals. CRMLS believes that any damage done to any California market affects all of us who operate in the state, and so we have stepped in to offer our assistance to keep our industry going,” the spokesperson said.
The cyberattack began late last week, with dozens of mostly smaller MLSs losing access to listings or other services provided by Rapattoni, which is based out of southern California. CEO Niki Rapattoni did not respond to multiple messages from RISMedia seeking more information.
An update posted on the Bakersfield Association of REALTORS® website Tuesday that allegedly came from Rapattoni said the company was “working with our legal counsel and our cyber security specialists to bring this matter to resolution as quickly as possible.” This message also addressed the possibility that sensitive data was accessed by cyber criminals.
“Our investigation is ongoing. As a reminder, all sensitive data stored in Rapattoni AMS databases is encrypted. To date, we have no evidence that personal information has been impacted. If it is discovered that any sensitive data is impacted, we will immediately alert you and determine the best course of action,” the message states.
While MLSs from New Jersey to Cincinnati appeared to have been affected by the attack, an outsized number seemed to be located in California, including Fresno, San Francisco and Bakersfield. Those agents will now be able to conduct business through the CRMLS Matrix system, which offers a much better alternative than some of the workarounds implemented by other associations—from giant listing spreadsheets to Instagram hashtags.
The CRMLS spokesperson also noted that listings entered into their system will go out on Zillow, realtor.com® and Homes.com, along with more than 25,000 other agent and broker websites. CRMLS also posted several training tools for the new system, including a spreadsheet showing analogous field entry options between Rapattoni systems and the CRMLS Matrix.
In the first 24 hours following the announcement, the CRMLS spokesperson said they received more than 120 applications from all over the state.
“The attack on Rapattoni is unprecedented, and we are operating under emergency conditions to accommodate everyone, so things will surely be changing as the situation develops,” the spokesperson said.
In the meantime, frustration appears to be growing with Rapattoni as the outage drags on. A post on the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® website said that Rapattoni’s “communication with us through this ordeal has been lacking, and frankly, severely disappointing.”
The San Francisco Association of REALTORS® had previously written on their website that the situation had “turned a corner” and they expected service to be restored by the end of the week. That language has since been removed.
California agents and brokers can apply to access CRMLS resources and systems here.