LandMark White details second data breach in six months
Written on the 3 June 2019 by David Simmons
Listed property valuer LandMark White (ASX: LMW) has revealed details of another data breach, the second in the last six months for the company.
The group says company documents were posted to US file sharing platform SCRIBD on Wednesday 29 May 2019 by an individual known to LandMark White.
LMW has taken steps to request these documents be removed from SCRIBD, and the two are working together to confirm the poster's identity.
The valuer first notified the market and clients on the night of 30 May 2019.
Unlike the first attack, which saw personal details of clients revealed on the dark web, this latest attack seems to be less confidential in nature.
Nonetheless, the company is taking the matter very seriously and has reported the incident to New South Wales police.
While Landmark White says the documents posted on SCRIBD were simply "short form" valuations in PDF format with very little personal information on them, the company and its clients have expressed concern.
There were no bank account or identity details included in the documents, but two out of the big four banks have suspended LandMark White as a valuer for home loan applications.
ANZ (ASX: ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) have suspended LandMark White, while Westpac (ASX: WBC) and National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) are reviewing their positions.
An ANZ spokesperson says that the bank is "disappointed and concerned" about the breach.
"At this stage our main priorities are seeking to understand if any ANZ customers have had their data breached, and to provide them with appropriate support," says ANZ.
"We have suspended our use of the services of the valuation provider at the centre of this incident while we seek to understand more about the nature and breadth of this data breach."
The CBA says its suspension of LandMark White is indefinite at this point in time.
"Following LMW's recent data incident, CBA can confirm we have indefinitely suspended the company from our valuation panel," says a CBA spokesperson.
"The safety and security of our customer information is of paramount importance to us."
LandMark White has refused to characterise the data breach as a cyber-attack, rather suggesting it is "the deliberate acts of a person known to LMW".
"LMW suspects that this person has taken the documents from LMW via a manual process and is attempting to damage LMW's brand and reputation," says LandMark White in an ASX statement.
"There is absolutely no indication that the person is attempting to derive personal gain from the disclosure."
"Whilst a small number of clients have again suspended workflows to LMW, the majority continue to work closely with LMW to understand the disclosure and any impact on their customers and LMW appreciates the way they are responding by supporting LMW, its employees and shareholders rather than acting in a way that ultimately rewards the criminal attempting to damage LMW's reputation."
This latest data beach comes just four months after the group was suspended from trading on the ASX because of a large-scale cyber-attack which saw company documents hosted on the dark web for 10 days before being noticed.
The company only just returned to the ASX at the beginning of May and revealed that the cost of that incident would hit the group's revenue by $7 million.
This loss of revenue does not account for the "significant" cost of upgrading the group's cyber security measures. The company said it was returning with a system with significantly enhanced digital security measures, and it is working towards achieving ISO27001 (International Information Security Standard) certification in the meantime.
"This latest release of documents does not, in any way, reverse the conclusions reached with respect to LMW's security environment and accordingly we do not believe that it is necessary for banks to re-suspend LMW," says LandMark White.
"If the perpetrator is allowed to succeed in their efforts to damage LMW's brand and reputation, this will have implications for the wider valuation industry's viability. Further, if the approach of dumping internal documents on the web successfully damages LMW, its employees and shareholders, it opens an avenue for disgruntled employees of other organisations to do the same. This activity must be deterred, and we thank the wider community for its support to stamp this activity out."
Shares in LandMark White are down 16 per cent to $0.21 per share at 11.18am AEST.
Author: David Simmons