ALTA Prevents Malicious File Uploads with Zero Trust CDR

When the American Land Title Association decided to expand the ALTA Title & Settlement Agent Registry to allow members to upload compliance and oversight documentation, it chose Forcepoint’s Zero Trust CDR to prevent malicious file uploads.

Industry

Government

Headquarters

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Challenge

  • To ensure that malware concealed inside documents and images could not be inadvertently uploaded into the ALTA Registry and potentially downloaded by users.

Approach

  • ALTA chose Forcepoint’s Zero Trust CDR as a Service (CDRaaS) to ensure uploads to the data warehouse are threat free. The service provides a REST cloud API to enable applications to post files to be cleaned and to retrieve the clean files.

Result

  • ALTA is able to download documents and images from their cloud data storage confident that the documents received from members uploading documentation is threat free.

“Ultimately, we chose Zero Trust CDR because of its reputation and the elegant simplicity of the solution.”
PAUL MARTIN, DIRECTOR, ALTA REGISTRY

Preventing Malicious File Uploads

ALTA is the national trade association for more than 6,400 title insurance agents, abstracters and underwriters. Members range from small, one-county operations, to large national title insurers across the United States.

The ALTA Title & Settlement Agency Registry (ALTA Registry) is a cloud-based data warehouse that provides an accurate and timely source of title agent information for all participants in mortgage transactions.

The ALTA Registry dataset is being expanded to include information needed by title insurance underwriters and lenders to meet some of their regulatory oversight obligations, specifically evidence of Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance.

While E&O insurance is a standard business requirement, typically it is not heavily invested in. The ALTA Registry has set about changing that by creating a single source for E&O data for oversight activities.

By leveraging the latest technology, the ALTA Registry will create a better solution for this important compliance requirement. ALTA will automate the upload of PDFs and use OCR to extract meta data from thousands of documents uploaded by small businesses. However, this came with its own risks: one of which being embedded malware within the PDF.

The business needed to ensure that malware concealed inside the images could not be inadvertently uploaded into the ALTA Registry and potentially downloaded by users.

The Zero Trust Solution

ALTA chose Zero Trust CDR as a Service (CDRaaS) to ensure that uploads are threat free. CDRaaS uses a REST cloud API to sanitize and present files that are posted to applications.

The ALTA application extracts the PDF files and passes them to the CDRaaS for cleaning before storing them in the Registry. Zero Trust CDR uses transformation and verification to ensure content is free from malware. During transformation, only the valid business information is extracted from an image or document. The original is then discarded. The valid business information is verified before being used to create an entirely new file for storage in the ALTA Registry.

This approach is radically different to traditional detection-based technologies such as anti-virus or sandboxing that attackers have become adept at evading.

An Elegant & Simple Solution

The ALTA Registry is a national database of title and settlement agents, built as a utility for the U.S. mortgage lending industry. It is a national, data warehouse for title agents, serving mortgage lenders and title insurance underwriters, and ultimately the consumer. It is vital that it cannot be exploited to act as a vector for the distribution of malware concealed in uploaded images or documents.

“We examined other technologies before selecting Zero Trust CDR but we did not find a suitable solution that focused on removing potential threats from images. This was key as the uploading of images is an integral part of our program. Zero Trust CDR as a Service behaves like a custom-built solution – as if it were designed for our program, when in reality, it’s an off-the-shelf product. Ultimately, we chose Forcepoint because of its reputation and the elegant simplicity of its solution.”
PAUL MARTIN, ALTA REGISTRY DIRECTOR

American Land Title Association (ALTA)

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) is the national trade association representing more than 6,400 title insurance companies, title and settlement agents, independent abstracters, title searchers and real estate attorneys.

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