Domain Group says phishing attack targeted site users

Company CEO said it identified a scam that used a phishing attack to gain access to Domain's administrative systems to engage with people who have made rental property enquiries. Meanwhile, New Zealand's Waikato District Health Board has ended day three of disruptions, following a full outage of its IT systems on Tuesday, which reportedly was the result of ransomware.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Australian digital real estate business, Domain Group, has confirmed its platform was the victim of a phishing attack.

"We have identified a scam that used a phishing attack to gain access to Domain's administrative systems to engage with people who have made rental property enquiries," the company's CEO Jason Pellegrino said in a statement to ZDNet.

"We understand the scammers then contacted some of these people by email to suggest that they pay a 'deposit' to secure a rental property on a website nominated by the scammer."

Domain said that while the attack is a serious matter, at this point, its investigation showed only a small number of people may have engaged with the scam.

"Clearly people are becoming more aware of how to spot suspicious online behaviour and taking protective measures not to engage in such activity," Pellegrino added. 

"Unfortunately, since Covid, scams like these have been on the rise. It is disappointing for us to find out that after such a challenging past twelve months for many of us, some see this as an opportunity to take advantage of others."

The CEO said since becoming aware of the scam, Domain has implemented several additional security controls and "elevated" its level of monitoring even further.

"We continue to implement further ways to identify and prevent phishing and have engaged external security consultants to provide further expertise in the management and prevention of online scams," he said.

Domain Group is approximately 65% owned by Nine Entertainment Co as a result of the Fairfax-Nine merger. Nine earlier this year had its services disrupted by a cyber attack that had forced it off air. Domain said the latest incident was not related to the one experienced by Nine.

Over the ditch, New Zealand's Waikato District Health Board has been working to get its systems back online, after it experienced a full outage of its information services on Tuesday. Stuff is reporting the incident was ransomware and that the head of Waikato DHB said "no ransom will be paid" to cyber criminals.

In an update posted Wednesday afternoon, Waikato DHB said it was making "good progress" on restoring the infected systems and on the remediation process. 

"We are currently working with other government departments to investigate the cause, but are working on the theory that the initial incursion was via an email attachment. A forensic investigation is ongoing," it said.

This meant services across its Waikato, Thames, Te Kūiti, Tokoroa, and Taumarunui hospitals have this week been impacted. At Waikato Hospital, some elective surgeries have been deferred, while the number of outpatient clinics has been reduced.

Of the 102 elective surgeries planned for inpatients at Waikato Hospital on Wednesday, 73 were still going ahead, with six elective surgeries cancelled on Tuesday, and 95 still performed.

Elective surgeries at Thames Hospital have been postponed and all outpatient activity at Waikato DHB's rural hospitals have been deferred.

Need to disclose a breach? Read this: Notifiable Data Breaches scheme: Getting ready to disclose a data breach in Australia


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