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Wednesday, 02 October 2019 10:39

Man held over data breach at property valuer Landmark White Featured

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Man held over data breach at property valuer Landmark White Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A man has been arrested by NSW Police Force Cybercrime squad detectives in connection with the data breach at property valuation firm Landmark White.

In a statement, Landmark White chief executive Timothy Rabbitt said: “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.”

The firm, one of the bigger property valuers in the country, discovered its systems had been infiltrated on 23 January but did not cotton on to the fact that data had been stolen.

It became aware of the breach through a corporate partner, CoreLogic, "that a dataset containing property valuation and some personal contact information had been disclosed". The breach was reported on 13 February.

Later, the company said that the data which had been exfiltrated had been on the dark web for more than 10 days before it was discovered.

The data that was at risk was "property valuation and some personal contact information of home owners, residents, and property agents, including first and last name, residential address, and contact numbers".

LMW was forced to stop trading for a while due to the breach.

A second tranche of data from LMW was found on the dark web on 13 March. A total of 76.873 files were present in this data dump, all part of the 137,500 documents which were stolen initially.

Rabbitt said on Wednesday: "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.

"It was also a vindication of LMW’s stance that this was a serious crime committed against the company. We are grateful that the person arrested was not an employee."

The company said it had invested a significant amount in IT security and other enhancements since the breach was noticed and had engaged external network security experts to ensure compliance with the International Standard ISO27001 information security standard.

“The enhancements to our network security allow us to demonstrate via third-party audit that our IT systems represent a best-practice, secure platform. In driving these ongoing enhancements, our goal is always to provide services to our clients in an efficient, cost-effective and secure manner,” Rabbitt said.

The incident had caused significant disruption to LMW's business and caused a great deal of stress and angst to staff, but the events of this year had made the firm stronger, he claimed.

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

“We have been a trusted member of the industry for over 40 years, and we look forward to putting this incident behind us and getting back to work with all our clients and partners across Australia.”

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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