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Man arrested over leaking 100,000 home loan customers' private data

Tony Yoo
Residential property is seen on the Gold Coast, Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
(AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

An IT contractor has been arrested over a data breach that saw thousands of Australian home loan customers' details splashed all over the dark web.

NSW police raided the man's home and a data centre in the inner west of Sydney on Wednesday morning.

The 49-year-old was arrested in downtown Sydney at 8am, with charges expected to follow later in the day.

In February, many home loan providers, including all four major banks, were forced to scramble after property evaluation firm Landmark White disclosed that the private details of thousands of customers had been leaked.

The ASX-listed company, which provides evaluation services for banks when a customer submits a home loan application, had not known about the breach until real estate research firm CoreLogic notified it.

Then in March the leaked data appeared on the dark web – a hard-to-access corner of the Internet frequented by those who want to be anonymous, often so they can conduct shady, and sometimes illegal, activities.

Landmark White never disclosed the exact number of home loan customers were affected, but Fairfax Media has reported it as around 100,000. NSW Police stated 170,000 records were stolen.

"We understand that the dataset contained property valuation and some personal contact information of borrowers, lenders, homeowners, residents, and property agents, including first and last name, residential address, and contact numbers," stated LandMark.

"The dataset also includes commentary about the property, relevant to its overall valuation."

When the breach first became known, all four of the big banks suspended its use of Landmark White.

Landmark White stated Wednesday that it was "pleased to advise" of the arrest.

"Investigations have revealed that the breach was carried out by an individual external to the company with trusted inside access, and the circumstances suggest that this person deliberately targeted LMW with an intent to damage our business and reputation.

"We are working with the [NSW Police] Cybercrime Squad to understand the motives for these actions."

The company stated that "a number of financial institutions" have removed their suspension.

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