We are developing a comprehensive ecosystem for real estate in Germany and Austria with ImmoScout24. We are bringing together supply and demand and are striving to make searching for, purchasing or selling properties a completely digital experience in future. Data security and fraud prevention have top priority on our platforms. In developing our range of products further, we place a focus on sustainable product solutions. At the same time, we concentrate on making our websites barrier-free and highlighting environmental criteria in listings.
We want to optimise the way in which our digital marketplaces are tailored to the needs of our customers and users and make them both easy and efficient to use. To this end, we are in contact with our customers, lobby groups and the interested public to identify potential for improvement and find specific solutions.
We use our annual Hack Weeks – our internal think tanks – to develop marketable, demand-oriented innovations. During Hack Week 2020, our employees submitted 36 different project ideas in three categories of competition.
Web-based products form the basis of our business model. We place great importance on online security and combating fraud to protect our customers and users against cyber-crime – in the form of data phishing or fraudulent listings, for example. Fake property listings or “advance payment fraud” can cause financial losses for our users and damage Scout24’s reputation.
The confidence and satisfaction of our customers and users are the foundation of our business success as an operator of online marketplaces. For this reason, the security of our platforms is one of the most strategically important and high-priority objectives of Scout24. To prevent fraud and data theft, we are working on technical measures to prevent the misuse of information on our websites as effectively as possible. We want to combat fraud attempts by identifying and removing fake listings as quickly as possible.
Scout24 has a range of methods to identify fake listings depending on the case at hand. These are either based on a self-learning filter system or they test listings for certain characteristics. In addition, we actively call upon our users to contribute to security and to report any scam listings as fraud by clicking on “Report the listing”. The Customer Care team reviews the listings and deletes them if necessary. On top of this, to protect our users from data phishing, we offer a two-step login and recommend that users activate it.
The Cloud Security Baseline, our internal instructions concerning the security of cloud applications, encompasses access rules, encryption and continuous monitoring of all cloud resources. In recent years, we have been working to automate security processes so as to be able to respond to risks more quickly. We established a technical audit of security measures in 2020 for this purpose.
Additionally, we carried out a large-scale quality offensive on our property platform. With machine learning algorithms and innovative anti-crawling technology, we can not only protect the data of our customers and users, but also protect them against phishing and spam messages. Furthermore, users have been able to accept and reject specific cookies since summer 2020. We are also working continuously to identify potential weaknesses in our IT infrastructure even more quickly and test the security of our products even during the product development phase.
Aside from the security processes in place, we provide our users with targeted and proactive information. That is why we have set up the website sicherheit.immobilienscout24.de. On this website, we answer user questions, investigate attempts at fraud and provide details about people to contact. In addition, we send out general information material by email and draw the general public’s attention to these issues in media interviews.
As in previous years, the proportion of fraudulent listings on our Scout24 platforms in relation to our active property portfolio is below one per cent. The percentage of fraudulently created accounts among all newly created customer accounts which is calculated on a monthly basis is in the lower double digits.
In 2021, we will strive to make our customers and users more aware of security issues. In real terms, we are planning to provide additional informative material on how to use the platform securely. This includes, for example, more information about two-factor authentication. We also want to optimise spam detection on the platform in 2021 and improve how security vulnerabilities are identified in products during the development phase.
The trust that customers, business partners, the general public, employees and investors place in us and our brands is invaluable. For the Scout24 Group as an operator of digital marketplaces in Germany and Europe, data privacy and security are a high priority and a fundamental part of how we see ourselves. We are committed to handling the data we collect, capture, store or use in a responsible manner and adhere to all relevant data protection laws that apply to Scout24 in the process.
For Scout24 as a non-manufacturing digital company with a supply chain of low complexity, the following supplier groups are relevant: service providers for IT, online marketing, marketing, HR, consulting and facility management as well as hardware and software providers.