Man arrested over Landmark White data breach

Written on the 2 October 2019 by Business News Australia

Man arrested over Landmark White data breach

The NSW Police Force Cybercriminal Squad have arrested a man in relation to the data breach incidents that affected real estate valuation business Landmark White (ASX: LMW).

The man has been identified as 49-year-old Stephen Grant, who the Sydney Morning Herald reported as having worked for 12 years at Landmark White.

However, Landmark White says the man was not an employee of the company, but rather he was someone with "trusted inside access".

At the time of writing Landmark White had not yet responded when asked to clarify whether the arrested man was a contractor.

Landmark White CEO Timothy Rabbitt says the arrest comes at the end of a long collaborative process with the NSW Police Force.

"The arrest was a great relief for the business and our staff, and would help ease the stress many of our staff have felt over the last six months," says Rabbitt.

"The arrest was also a vindication of LMW's stance that this was a serious crime committed against the company."

"We hope today's arrest will bring closure to these data incidents and will give confidence to LMW's clients, partners and staff, that we can continue to provide a secure long-term work environment for our staff and a quality service to our clients."

Rabbitt says despite the disruption which has caused significant stress to the business and its employees, the events of 2019 have made Landmark White stronger than ever before.

"A number of financial institutions with whom we've had long-term relationships have reinstated LMW to the panels of valuation providers, which is fantastic," says Rabbitt.

"We are also extremely grateful to our 300 loyal staff, who have continued to work with us to put our clients first."

During 2019 Landmark White suffered from two major data breaches.

The first data breach saw Approximately 137,500 unique records and approximately 1,680 supporting documents posted onto the dark web and hurt the company's revenue by up to $7 million.

Landmark White was placed into a state of temporary suspension from the ASX in early June after the company was hit with a second data breach this year. That breach saw company documents posted to US file sharing platform SCRIBD on Wednesday 29 May 2019.

After the second data breach Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA), ANZ (ASX: ANZ), National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB), Bankwest, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (ASX: BEN), Suncorp (ASX: SUN), HSBC, and Latrobe all suspended LMW as a property valuer.

As a result FY19 for LMW was rough, resulting in the company posting a loss of $15.1 million.

Looking forward, LMW expects to post a loss of $1.5 million in FY20, and hit revenues of $38.6 million.

The new-look LMW will see the company focussing on streamlined operations and improved earnings margins.

Update: As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald Stephen Grant has been refused bail after the court was told forensic evidence links him to the 'elaborate and sophisticated crime'.

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