LandMark White counts cost of data breach

LandMark White still unsure of financial impact

LandMark White is still working to assess the financial impact of a data breach that led to the information relating to clients posted on a darkweb forum.

The data included people’s names, residential and business addresses, email addresses and phone numbers, as well as commentary relating to the valuation of particular properties.

In some cases the data included documents relevant to a valuation assessment, including contracts for the sale of land, council rates, and strata reports, according to LMW.

LMW has described the data as “relatively benign”.

Some 137,500 unique valuation records and 1680 supporting documents were inadvertently exposed by an LMW API. Around 250,000 individual records were included in the dataset, but LMW said some were duplicates. The documents covered the period 4 January 2011 to 20 January 2019.

LMW has said that it first became aware of the breach on 4 February. However, it has confirmed that as early as December 2018 attempts had been made to alert it to the issue. It was also contacted in January 2019 by the Australian Cyber Security Centre about the vulnerability that allowed data to be accessed.

The company yesterday entered its second trading halt since its disclosure of the breach on 5 February.

The ASX-listed property valuation firm requested trading in LMW securities be suspended while it works on calculating the cost of the breach to its business.

As a result of the breach, “LMW has been suspended from receiving work from a significant number of our clients which is impacting our revenues, profitability and cashflows,” the company said in its request for the ASX to suspend trading in its shares.

“At this point in time we are unable to ascertain when these clients will reinstate LMW and hence when LMW will be in a position to assess with any certainty the financial impact of the Incident,” LMW said.

“LMW expects that it would be able to provide the market with accurate information relating to the financial impact of the Incident and hence a forecast for FY2019 within the next two to four weeks and lift the suspension at that time,” the company said in its request.

Australia’s big four banks have suspended their use of LMW services following the breach.

In a statement released yesterday Westpac said that it is investigating the incident and working to contact any customers affected by the breach, including customers of its subsidiaries St.George, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and RAMS.

“At this stage, we believe only a small number of individuals are potentially impacted,” Westpac said. “While we investigate the matter, we have also suspended sending any further work to LandMark White,” the bank’s statement said.

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