Brookfield admits residential unit suffered a data security incident
The home construction division of one of Canada’s largest publicly-traded companies has acknowledged it was hit with a cyberattack last week.
Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), which owns or invests in $540 billion in real estate, energy and infrastructure companies in 30 countries, said late Monday that its Brookfield Residential Properties division was victimized by an unspecified cyberattack.
“We recently identified a data security incident, which involved unauthorized access to a limited subset of files,” the company said in a statement to IT World Canada. “We immediately alerted appropriate authorities, restored affected systems and implemented additional security measures. We are proactively reaching out to any individual whose information may have been accessed, but we believe this is limited to internal employees only.”
The statement did not address allegations by a new threat group called DarkSide, which said last week it had hit Brookfield with a ransomware attack and was threatening to release stolen data unless an unspecified amount of money is paid. The group data it allegedly copied included corporate and employee information. It did not say which of the many divisions of Brookfield were attacked.
A spokesperson for the parent company took pains to stress that Brookfield Asset Management has its own corporate network and was not hit.
Brookfield Residential, which is wholly-owned by BAM, has $5.7 billion of attached and detached properties under development or construction in Canda and the U.S. The spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, said Brookfield Residential is an independently operating portfolio company that runs on an isolated network and domain.
The cyberattack comes at a sensitive time for Brookfield Asset Management. In 2019, it had a net profit of $5.4 billion. However, that was before COVID-19. On Aug. 13, it reported a net loss of almost $1.5 billion for the second quarter of this year in part after writing down the market value held by its commercial properties unit. In an Aug. 6 release, the Brookfield Property Partners unit said finances were “impacted significantly this quarter by the widespread closures of our hospitality and retail assets due to the global economic shutdown.”
Meanwhile, Brookfield Residential has weathered the storm relatively well. In a June 30 quarterly report, the unit said the pandemic significantly impacted the early part of the period sales. However, more recently, sales have sharply picked up. Net new home orders increased 18 per cent, and July was even better. For the three months ended June 30, 2020, income before tax was $22 million, which was similar to the same period of 2019. Despite the uncertainties and challenges due to COVID-19 the unit delivered 634 homes and 164 lots in Q2 2020, compared to 763 homes and 756 lots in the prior year.
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